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Thread: When the Fish gets the Upper Hand....literally....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Eagle River, Alaska

    Default When the Fish gets the Upper Hand....literally....


    Short report…..for me. Was at my parents on Flathead Lake in northwest Montana where I usually do a bit of fishing in the harbor behind the house with some nice results with pike and bass. Alas the lake was high, still quite cold and the bait fishies had not moved into the harbor yet. Did do a bit of casting (let several bass guarding there beds alone) and managed one bass:

    So I spent some quality time helping the older folks get ready for summer. Spent a week then took off for home (about a 10 hour drive) with my trusty snilky (cross between a mini schnauzer and a silky) terrier Jackson with plans to fish the Beaverhead in southwest Montana on the way home. Great brown and rainbow trout river which winds underneath Interstate 15 for many miles below Clark Canyon Reservoir. This was a catch and keep operation as I was looking for some brown trout to smoke. Little did I know the fish were out for action also.

    Stopped first at the Grasshopper Creek turn off where I managed to nab 2 nice brownies while fishing off a bridge of about 12 to 15 feet above the river. Very interesting trying to work a minnow lure from a bridge. Missed another one and then moved on.

    Hit another favorite spot with absolutely nothing…..talked to a few guides getting out here and they told me fishing was really tough. Finally I went to my final area only about ½ mile below the dam. Managed another nice brown here……then the entertainment began. If I could pay to have a video of the next hour I would do it, although it is much funnier now then it was during the moment. Decided to move down a steep slope of about 15 feet not realizing it had been raining and hailing for a while before I arrived here… I used to do it a lot…uh, 20 years ago….didn’t seem that long ago at the time. I should also mention I have been suffering some intense vertigo for a few weeks when tipping my head back. Annnnyyywwwwayyy, I get about two steps down the slope and my feet go out from under me and its off to the races to the water rolling over a dead branch as I go. Arrived on my feet then stood up and slipped the last 3 feet into the water, glad the waders were on. Now I notice that the expensive Luckycraft rainbow trout lure is gone from my rod tip. Hmmmm….I look back up the hill and suspect it snapped off on the branch I rode over on the way down the hill. It’s only 4 feet above me…..ha! Tried moving up several times with no traction. Stopped to catch my breath and noticed now that the lure is sitting in the dirt right above the branch. Let me preface the rest with the thought…..”you can’t make this stuff up”. Okay, so I dig a few foot holes and try moving up the hill again when I notice some small varmint/ground squirrel/devious little beast…..comes sprinting across the trail I came down, grabs my fricking Luckycraft and darts into his conveniently located hole. Man….you cannot be SERIOUS!!! I wanted to chortle the little monster and hopes he gets hooked. By this time I am quite frustrated and try to move rapidly up the slope getting halfway up before I look up and, you guessed it, vertigo reared its ugly head and I lose my balance sideways into a large bush and end up nearly upside down. Nope, this did not make me any happier. Madder then a wet hen (whatever that means) I force myself up the rest of the path slipping and sputtering all the way. By the time I get to the top I was so out of breath, I thought my heart might start wigging out on me. Stood for a good 5 minutes before I could move back to the car, covered in dirt, small flying creatures, etc….at least I didn’t break the rod.

    Now you think this is over right? Not. Hop in the car and move about 50 yards forward to where two guys from Washington are thrashing the water with nymphs. As I chat with them it hails like mad for about 15 minutes and then asked them if they minded moving down below them a bit. They said “no problem” it’s not like they had caught anything. So tying on a new rainbow pattern Luckycraft (they should give me endorsement money). I fished my way down the next 30 yards with nothing to show for it except some excellent stumbling on slippery rocks.

    Decided to turn around and fish back to the car and leave when I got a sharp strike and a very nice brown trout started jumping. I was able to tame the fish beast but landing it was a issue as I was standing with my back against a steep slope. Wrestled it onto a small grassy area where I attempted to remove the hooks….it had managed to get both trebles stuck in it. As I released the first one the fish decided to put up another high score in bank fishing gymnastics which led to every fisherperson’s worst fear……getting a hook stuck in your hand while the other hook is still in a thrashing fish (remember the title to this report). So the fish is on an unstable surface and I got my left pinky impaled and connected to Mr. Bad Arse Brown but I noticed the barb had barely penetrated. As I went to quickly rip it out the fish decided to set the hook with some serious head shakes and now it was buried up to the bend in the treble. To make matters even more entertaining the hook impaled in my pinky now wrapped up in the braided line in the middle of my fishing rod pinning that to my poor, abused pinky. Now I could have screamed for help from the guys upriver from me but my macho just wouldn’t let me do it….it sucks to get old. I managed to get ahold of some heavy hemostats in my fishing vest and finally subdue the brown trout (yes, by repeatedly bashing in the head). Now I was getting faint from the loss of blood (not really but I thought that would sound good). I removed the hook from the recently deceased brown trout and managed to reach the clippers on my vest to tear at the braided line which wouldn’t cut. Finally I untangled the hook and bit it off at the fluorocarbon leader. Yes there is still more fun stuff. I was beginning to think I was in the fishing Bermuda Triangle.

    So I grabbed the fish and rod in one hand and carried my wounded pinky carefully with the most excellent lure attached to it in the other. The two fishermen I had talked to earlier were amazed with my fishing prowess but told me they were easier ways to remove the hook. Now bad karma really kicks into gear. I lay the fish and my rod in the grass and reach into my upper vest pocket with the undamaged appendage and guess what?? Yours truly has dumped the keys in the river back somewhere while wrestling the killer brown trout….you cannot be serious!! Ah ha but I brought a second set of keys, unfortunately they are in the locked vehicle. But thanks to Jackson being with me the windows are partially rolled down. I was able to take my fishing pole apart and carefully work it in the opening and push the button to unlock the car…..yeah for my team. You can imagine how much fun it was removing by boots, waders and fishing vest with an impaled lure lurking around. Wait fate still has one more bad karma experience up its sleeve. As I am sliding on my sneakers (yes, they are delightful peacock bass shoes) the hook impaled in the aforementioned pinky has another treble hook point go right through the shoelace. Now my hand is literally pinned to my shoe and it dang well hurt everytime I moved it. I sat for a moment and like every good Boy Scout I remembered there was a knife in my pocket….couldn’t be that easy could it? Of course it wasn’t. The knife was in my left side pants pocket which was the same side pinned to the shoe. I’m sure the contortions would have been amusing to anyone seeing me try to get my right hand down my left pocket with my left hand buttoned to the shoe. But, yes, I retrieved the very sharp Simms (yes, Simms makes a very sharp handy, dandy pocketknife) knife and slashed the shoelace on my shoe until it release the hook……OUCH.

    It was time, finally, to get on the road. No way I could drive with lure swinging around on my pinky so I found some athletic tape and taped up the other treble so it wouldn’t hook anything. Then I taped the back end of the lure to my pinky so the impaled barb wouldn’t be swinging around. Here are a few lovely photos:

    So I now begin the 3 hour drive to Pocatello where I can hit a hospital ER to take out the offending hook…..finger kept throbbing a little more each hour. When I finally got there the front desk person asked what my problem was and I pulled out my hand and I said “Inappropriate storage of fishing lures.” This got me immediate entrance and I believed everyone in the ER at the time came into see the man who had the tables turned on him by a nasty brown trout. The doc came in assessing the situation and asked if he could take a picture on his phone to send to his brother who evidently was a big fisherman. “Sure, why not” I replied. He numbs up my finger while I amuse the ER staff with the entire hooking the human incident. Man shots in your finger suck! After a few minutes to let it numb up he sat down to take out the lure. I told him to just cut off the hook but don’t ruin a perfectly good lure by cutting it at the screw eye. But he told me that wouldn’t be a problem because he couldn’t force the hook through and he just pulled it back. After the first three attempts of yanking it out with some needle holders he mentioned that I might want to change to barbless hooks next time. If I hadn’t been in such a delicate position I would have punched him in the nose. He finally ripped it out with no damage to the lure, bless his heart. They made me soak in chlorohexidine for 45 minutes and put me on antibiotics. Then it was another 3 ½ hr drive home to Meridian putting me and the puppy home at 1 am. A bed never felt so good.


    In the morning I took this picture of all the characters…..the big fish (19”) at the top
    was the hooking culprit and yes, that is the actual lure that was impaled in my flesh:

    Certainly it was the fish 1 and human 0 on the river but that brown will really taste sweet when it finishes smoking tomorrow night.

    Oh yea. Brian

  2. #2


    Dang Doc
    I didn't know if I should laugh or cry...Haha
    The way you told it, I was crying from laughing.
    Let's hope you got the bad mojo off of you with that day.
    At least you had the last laugh at that fish and into the pan for him.
    Great read as usual.

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