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O.K. I catch fish and yes sometimes I even eat them. I don’t hate fish. In fact I like fish and in post #15 I’ve gone and explained why I think fish are at least as smart as people. Go ahead laugh but think about this: fish pay no taxes; fish make their own homes like birds do-no messy contractors needed or plans to file; fish stay cool, Winter, Spring, Fall and Summer; fish come in more colors than we do; fish live everywhere on the Planet, albeit it be in water, but how bad is that?-cool, clean (used to be before we came along); fish think  better than we do-they only kill each other when they have to.

Still, I eat fish. I intend just that while heading some few miles across my summer vacation lake.  I captain reel and rod in hand a small boat loaded with gear, licenses, gas, motor, sun screen, anchors, beers..er fancy sodas, Crogan meat and cheese, hat, rain jacket, full tackle box….everything but the one thing I’d recently bought and would soon need: a long pliers type fish hook remover.

Isn’t it odd how it works? The Universe somehow tells me to do something or to get something so I do. Fine, everything is in order.  The routine trouble starts when I  forget to bring what ever it was the universe told me I needed  to.  Other times I forget where I put whatever it is I am going to need-can’t find it in the refrigerator, in one of my shoes, under the bed-no where can I find this thing.  But to be fair, most often I  flat out forget about whatever it is I will need entirely?

Case in point is today’s fishing lessen. I’d fished for hours without much luck but looking back now perhaps I had been lucky most of the day. In either case my luck today was about to change. Finally a cast of 40 feet or so beckoned what appeared to be a fair size Northern Pike. Wham!-fish on and into the boat.

His size is less than I thought-perhaps 34 inches in all-not a fish I’d keep. Still I am happy to have him for this moment and at the same time realize I left my long nosed pliers on the dock. This is, in one word: nonotgood. You see Northern Pike have not only teeth like a small shark but also they have a will and awareness to bite you in the boat-believe me, I’ve seen it. Think more of a snake like fish and you’ll be on the right track here. What to do? I ponder for a moment, my feet on the fish and Leatherman tool in my right hand.

Normally I’d hold the fish still with the long nosed pliers and remove the hook with the Leatherman tool. Lacking the pliers I firm my feet on the fish, grab the fishes’ lip with my Leatherman tool and slowly reach for  the lure with my left hand to remove the hook. Wham!-the fish jumps and firmly sets one of the hooks completely into my finger! Ouch! So there I sit, stuck to the same lure as my fish. I’m bent over with my hand not two inches from his mouth and the lure’s  other hooks. I’m  in pain, stuck figuratively and literally miles from help. This is not a good way to fish. Nonotgood.

I looked at my bleeding hand, saying words I don’t even know how to spell, and thinking: what to do?

Hooks are called that because you can’t get out of them. With this hook embedded better than any CBS news reporter ever was I clearly  have to cut it out. So I get my Leatherman knife blade out using my teeth and cut a long painful slit in my finger until I can pull the entire hook out. The relief at this moment resembles, I think, what it must be like to see God? I don’t know this-I’m just saying.

I must admit to possibly blaming the fish for my pain and for perhaps stomping on the fish a bit. I may  even resemble an elephant wearing high heels doing a tap dance on the fish at this moment. The fish is clearly spent , half dead now,  and for this I feel a moment of sorrow-had everything been in place I could release him  now and both of us could be on our way. But as it is I will spend several days of vacation with a wrapped finger and he, though small, will assume the broiling pan position.

I slowly reach down to once again remove the hook from his mouth. Blameogoshno! It’s not possible but it is true the fish has jumped yet again and put a second hook this time right clear through my same finger!

I invent words here that will make me famous if only I can remember them.

The protruding hook end is extended completely through my finger. There is only one option. I need to cut the hook end off and then pull the shaft of the hook back out my finger the same way it has gone into it. I do this and I am free, sans undamaged finger which now supports not one but  two hook holes. It’s here things get out of hand.

I’ve got to say I never before have enjoyed cutting a fish’s head off as much as I do this ones.  And I’ve even got to say-he tastes pretty darn good! Franque

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