Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hook, Line and Sinker

A little known fact about me: I love to fish. I've spent countless hours trolling the waters for the next big catch (and I'm not talking about, including fresh water fishing, deep sea fishing, fly fishing and even ice fishing. If it swims, and I've got some free time, I'll try to catch it.

In 1991, I lived in White Plains, NY and owned a small 12-foot jon boat that I kept on the Cross-River Reservoir in northern Westchester County. Since these reservoirs feed the NYC water system, no motors are allowed; therefore, you've got to row to the best fishing spots--sometimes quite a ways away. I've never been one for exerting a whole lot of effort during my time off, so I frequently recruited a few of the older kids on the swim team I coached to do the rowing for me join me for a fishing trip.

One weekend there was a youth crappie fishing contest and I had helped swim team members and fellow fisherman Jimmy, 16, and Jon, 17, sign up for the contest. They were terribly excited and determined to win. About a half-hour into the early morning, we trolled along the shore hoping to find a good spot. Suddenly, a HUGE fish jumped out of the water about 20 yards from the boat. Jon and I simply said "Wow," but Jimmy took action. With all his might, he reared back to cast his lure directly at the fish. Except that on this cast, the lure didn't make it into the water. Instead, the shiny, four-inch crank bait with three large treble hooks found itself embedded into the middle of my back. All. Three. Hooks. Stuck. Deep.


If you know anything about fish hooks, they're made to pierce easily, but not to come out without a significant struggle. With fish, this is OK--their lips are cartilage and don't have nerve endings. Human flesh, however, is not well suited for fish-hook removal. Especially when the cast was so hard that the hooks BEND from the force. We were in trouble. It was clear a visit to the emergency room was in order.

Frantically and apologetically, Jimmy rowed us back to where we parked. Since I couldn't sit in the car seat due to the lure, I had to let Jimmy drive my car. Sadly, it was a stick-shift, and Jim's first time to drive one. Imagine my joy as I sat awkwardly in the tiny back seat of my Acura Intergra in utter agony from being the catch of the day, completely nauseated from car sickness as Jimmy jerked and sputtered his way to the hospital some 15 miles away.

Except that that wasn't the worst of it. After arriving at the hospital, I learned a painful lesson about the protocols for the removal of fish hooks in the ER setting (I know this because I wrote and letter to complain--they sent me a copy of the page from the ER policy manual). Apparently, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine does NOT condone the process of applying a local anesthetic and gentle removal of the hook. Rather, the process is to cut the minnow part of the lure away, tie a STRING to the embedded hook, and YANK the mother f*cker straight out of the skin.

Again, Ouch.

Ever the overly-competitive dedicated sportsman, I insisted that we head back to the lake to finish the contest. Later that afternoon, we hit upon a huge crappie nest and caught over 40 fish. In a twist of fate, Jimmy caught the largest crappie of the contest and won a brand new rod and reel and $100 cash. Guilt being what it is, Jimmy offered the rod to me as an olive branch for his poor casting skills. Of course I refused, knowing that the memory of that day would last a whole lot longer than a fishing rod. Fishing, after all, is much more about the fun than it is the fish.


At 3:42 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Around age 13 I had a similar incident while fishing in my neighbor friend's pond in Polo. I had lost my hook and was attempting to tie on another while my friend continued to cast in and out. One of his casts got snagged in a bush behind him (or so he THOUGHT).This was no ordinary bush, it was more like the the left cheek of my face. He gave his line a few good yanks before turning to find he had caught himself a "Daley" fish.

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous MiKell said...

I learned at an early age that when my father made me go fishing with him to bring a book.

A big book.

I always had the bestest time.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

I figured you had "hooked" before, but that's a little much, isn't it?

At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Trevor said...

Ok, I hate to be the one who cracks into this, except that i love it. And honestly don't take it as me judging you as much as I'm completely and totally judging you, but have these "issues" with younger men in your life always been this severe. And then you went back for more? I think there's a melody of conclusion playing in the background and Danny Tanner is trying to tell you something Mary-Kate, and it's not to eat more. Love you Dave, have a great weekend.

At 5:50 PM, Blogger The Persian said...

sheesh that must have hurt. Yikes.


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