Here’s a fishing tale of a different colour. Sort of a blood-red colour.
On Friday night a bunch of us trekked out to Otty Lake to our friend’s dad’s house so the kids could do some fishing. Apparently it was not a good night for the Gray women. The first calamity involved a zebra mussel cutting Girlchild’s thumb. To quell the blood and tears, Groom-boy headed up to the house to retrieve a Band-Aid.
While he was gone, friend’s eldest child, let’s call him Buddy, lands a Huge Giant Bass. It was a beautiful multi-pound fish!
I was first on the scene. He had used one of those big lures with the sets of three hooks at the front and the back. One hook was through the fish’s lip, and I figured I could free it fairly easily. (I daresay I’ve become reasonably adept at de-luring fish over the last few years as the kids and I ply various waters.)
Buddy says, “You should use the pliers.”
“Oh, that’s okay,” I say in my best Voice of Experience. “I think I can get it.”
Can you guess what happened next? Multi-pound bass flops a bit and the back end of the big lure flips up and snags me in the left thumb.
By this time Buddy’s mom had arrived on the scene. The fish struggled and tugged on the lure, which wasn’t really the best part of my day. We rearranged ourselves a bit and she was able to cut through the line with the pliers (shoulda used them pliers in the first place, you know).
The World’s Largest Bass was freed and I had the evidence in my hand. Literally.
So now both Gray women are bleeding at the thumb. Groom-boy shows up with a couple of Band-Aids and is advised the extra one probably isn’t going to cut it. He reassures the weeping Girlchild she wouldn’t have to go to “The Merge,” as she calls it. Mom, however, who is all brave and stoic and didn’t weep at all, does.
In the faint hope I could release the lure myself I ran my thumb under cold water at the house. Everyone knows most medical problems are solved by running them under cold water, right?
So we loaded everyone up and I was unceremoniously dumped off at The Merge while the other grown-ups took kiddies home for bed. It was busy at The Merge, so I twiddled my thumbs (ha!) while a few people looked surreptitiously at the paper towel that was protecting us all from being impaled by the remaining five barbed hooks.
I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that this sort of injury is pretty common. In fact, as I sat there, three older fellas from Pennsylvania came in. They come up every year to fish at Newboro and one of them had – surprise! – been hooked in the thumb. We compared notes. It’s hard to say which of the fish in question was more enormous, but we agreed everyone was lucky to have escaped without losing an arm to these mighty bass. I showed off Buddy’s lure. My American friend had already cut off the bulk of his lure, but apparently it was a dandy one that flashes when it goes in the water.
I was called in first. The doctor, who had worked for a while at one of Ontario’s fishing meccas – Dryden – was an experienced de-lurer. The worst part was the needle to freeze my thumb, but after that it was an interesting procedure. First an assortment of workbench tools was used to cut off the lure. I’ll spare you the details of how barbed hooks are removed, other than to say they can’t come out the same way they go in.
It’s easy to see fish don’t really have a chance.
After some antiseptic, a bandage and a tetanus shot I was good to go. First I stopped in the waiting room to report to my new American friends about what to expect.
So there is my unorthodox fishing tale. And since bass season isn’t in yet, we don’t even have a keeper to show off – unless you want to count me and my thumb.
Published in The Perth Courier, June 17/10