Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Are you prepared for fishing lure encounters?

Remember me?

No I forgot to look.

Are you prepared if you step on me?

No, not really. I guess I could take off my paddle bootie if you aren't stuck in my foot. I left the wire cutter in the car.

Now that you found me, what are you going to do with me?

It doesn't happen often, but this is the second time I almost stepped on a big fishing lure with multiple barbs. This one is bright red and easy to see, but with all the interesting scenery surrounding me, it was easy to miss. I only noticed it when I knelt down to take a photo.

Location: An island in Baie des Girard, off Saint Gedeon, Lac Saint Jean, Quebec, Canada

This is why I wear a good paddle bootie with a thick sole and not neoprene paddle socks. Protect your feet!

Now what to do with this lure?  I can't leave it on an island shoreline to wash back out into the water unattended or leave it where it sits for someone else to step on.

I planted the fishing lure firmly into a dead tree.
I thought I'd tell my blog readers where I found it so someone could go hunting for it. The kayaking geocache crowd loves that.

But, I showed it to  my paddle partner and he said, "Hey, that's a nice lure. It's coming home with me."

I wouldn't stick a fishing lure with live barbs into a kayak hatch for obvious reasons. We weren't prepared with any type of container to bring it home in. What to do?

We embedded small, soft bits of loose shoreline driftwood into the barbs to keep them busy, then wrapped the lure in an empty snack bar wrapper. Not a great fix, but good for the short term, and put it into a kayak hatch.

Now, every time we paddle I ask my paddle partner, "Is that fishing lure still in your hatch?"


Remember me?
I stop to think about fishing lure encounters from time-to-time because I've had to tow a paddler across a lake and drive him to the emergency room of a hospital when a fishing lure with multiple barbs got embedded into his hand. It's really not that uncommon if you are removing a lure with multiple barbs from the mouth of a lively, flopping fish with your bare hands. It's pretty upsetting to look at and it's very painful if you're the one with a fish hook in your hand. You are stranded. You can't paddle. You can't pull it back out.

And, when this little accident happens, it may make you freak out a bit. Take a moment to breathe and think. Easier said than done. Especially when you see blood and are far from outside help.

Fishing lures with multiple barbs dangling from your hand invites you to snag yourself a few more times or to get caught on something else. So cutting yourself free of the lure and only going to the hospital with the embedded barb is one option. When I didn't have a wire cutter handy on an island, I actually used duck tape to wrap around the other free barbs to immobilize them until we got to the hospital.

All this is very painful. In my first aid kit, I also keep Advil or some type of common temporary pain killer. It's better than nothing.

I remember, the hospital didn't have a wire cutter handy. It took them 30 minutes to locate one after an already long wait time to be admitted. Seriously!? I learned to keep a small fishing wire cutter in the car and one in a kayak hatch.

If you do decide to cut yourself free from a fishing lure before heading to the hospital, the doctor said not to cut it off close to the skin, otherwise they have more trouble removing it. They numb your hand, then push the hook through in the direction of the barb, not pull it back out where it went in. That barb has really got you hooked! If that doesn't work, they have to do some surgery. After the fishing hook was removed, there was a course of antibiotics. That wound is ripe for infection.

It's good to test a new wire cutter. We bought one, tested it on an old fishing lure at home, and the new wire cutter broke in our hand. Some are cheap and don't work. Best to buy a good one and test it on an old lure before trusting it on a trip.

Remember me? Yes I do!
Are you prepared for fishing line and fishing lure encounters?

Me? Not always. And I know better. Here's another reminder to keep the small fishing wire cutter tool in the kayak. The duck tape, and the tow belt I never forget.

Below are links to more of my fishing line and lure encounters:
Happy paddle trails!
The BaffinPaddler

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