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I had an interesting tournament day on the water. I was by myself on a river, hooked into a decent Smallmouth, went to take the hook out of his mouth, he flipped and hooked me with the bottom treble hook. Now…we were both hooked. I put the fish in my hand without the hook, then realized I didn’t have an extra hand to get the hook out of either one of us. Nor could I call Jeremy Crowe because I couldn’t get to my phone…. I notice the fishes tail starting to sway back and forth…crap! He’s going to go crazy again! I’m thinking to myself “NOOO!!” Sure enough, a couple flips of the tail, the hook goes deeper. He does this 2 more times, driving the hook deeper. Ok…here’s the thing…I don’t kill or hurt animals or anything ever! But I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t cross my mind at that moment…that fish almost got straight punched in the face, BUT I DID NOT DO THAT. It was almost like he understood when I said “look! You need to calm down or you’re gonna get hurt!” He sat pretty still after that. I managed to get the fish back in the hand with the hook and used my free hand to get the hook out of him. I then put him on the fish grips and put him back in the water.

I took a deep breath, told myself to relax and that I could figure this out (I at this point could’ve called Jeremy but didn’t want to mess up his fishing since we were in a tournament). Suddenly my phone rings. Its Jeremy! He asked if I was ok and he had a weird feeling something was wrong. Weird! I told him that I had a hook in my finger. He quickly paddled up stream to help me. He was probably a half mile ahead of me. When he got there, he said he couldn’t do anything. We didn’t have the right tools. He did try to flatten the barb but that just pulled the hook further through my finger. I told him that I still needed to log my fish. I held my fish while Jeremy took the picture. 

I released my fish back in the water. I kind of feel like that fish was laughing all the way back home…

Jeremy then got the lure off so at least I didn’t have that dangling there.

I ended up telling him I’d watch him fish and we would take care of it later. Then I remembered we had friends further upstream. I didn’t REALLY WANT to watch him fish, although I was pretty convincing because I didn’t want to ruin his time on the water. Jeremy called them, and they had tools! So, I paddled about a mile downstream with a hook in my finger.

My friend Joe, cut the barb off and pulled it through. My audience Nick watched and cringed and took pictures. That’s what REAL friends do! It hardly hurt at all. Thank goodness another river buddy, John, had a first aid kit. I was not a very good teammate for Jeremy. We were competing in the team division as well as individual. I MUST mention our team name, One Pole One Hole. I lost about 2 hrs. of fishing time playing with the hook and didn’t do much fishing after the hook was out. And Jeremy was pretty much done after the hook incident as well. He ended blowing through all the prime spots to catch up with me. He was worried about me. He DOES care!

Lesson learned. We invested in a hook cutter and first aid kit for our kayaks.

Thank you, Jeremy Crowe, Joe Colegrove, Nick McLanahan & John Belyk for all your help!

– Shannon Williams