Last night was a good reminder to how fast accidents can happen. Bails hooked into a nice muskie for his 2nd straight outing. Since he's on fire and keeps catching them, I thought it would be fitting for him to handle his own fish in the net. Heck, he's a big boy, he can handle it. Right? Well, as it turns out, maybe that wasn't such a good idea.
I handed Bails the pliers and turned to grab the camera only to hear some words that I will not share. "This isn't good, this isn't good, help, help!" The muskie had made a head shake in the net and the free-flying treble hook stuck right in the palm of his hand. This might not be a huge ordeal, but with a mad muskie still attached, it isn't something to joke about. I quickly grabbed the fish and luckily it calmed down. One quick pop from the pliers and the muskie was free. At that point he was in no mood to take a picture with his fish, so I simply slid her back to the depths. In muskie fishing terms, the fish couldn't have been released any faster. She was maybe in the net for 25 seconds and never came out of the water. Textbook you would say - other than the fact that my buddy was still attached to the net.
This is where the details get gorry. With the razor sharp hooks deeply embedded into his hand, we opted to push the hook the rest of the way through rather than pull backwards against the barb. This wasn't nearly as easy as one would think. It took a few tools and some hard work, but finally we cut enough skin and pushed the hook far enough to clip the barb. While this is not something anybody would want to go through, it does serve as a good reminder to the safety of each catch and the preperation that you should have when you hit the water. Without all the tools on board, we may not have been able to do the procedure and patch the wound. It's the harsh reality when you fish muskies and being prepared will only make things easier when accidents happen. I also have to admit that Bails was extremely calm through this ordeal, and it made it a lot easier to operate on. My guess is that he'll be a little bit more reluctant to jump back into the net for his next muskie. Regardless, it is an experience that can and if you fish muskies long enough...will happen.
On another note, this evening marks one of my favorite days each year. I leave for the BWCA with the best group of guys on the planet. For the next 5 days, myself and eight buddies will live on an island and live off the land. No computers, no cell phones, no technology period. Fresh shore lunch over an open fire each day, giant smallies, huge pike and sunsets that cannot be beat. If it gets better than this, I would have to see it to believe it. I will have a full recap when I return, until then, keep on livin' your dream!