I've got a whole new reason for pinching the barb. And a very damn good one.
Yesterday I was fishing in the Brazos and the catching was awesome. I was catching so many fish that my right index finger was sore from holding the line against the fish. It was a great day, and it nearly turned disastrous for me. My son, who was fishing near me, thought what I went through was hilarious and laughed so hard he dropped his rod in the water - but for me it wasn't a bit funny - at least not then.
It happened fast, as bad things usually do, super fast in fact. I'd hooked another large bluegill. I'd been catching these giant gills all day, great big things averaging about ten inches, thick across the back and shaped like saucers so that I could barely get a hand around them to hold them as I removed the hook - the thankfully barbless hook.
I caught this one pretty far out on the cast and had a long way to bring him in, but before I got it halfway to me it made a run straight at me - faster than I could strip in line. For a moment I thought I'd lost it as I couldn't feel it through the slack, and with a barbless hook I just figured it had gotten free, but it hadn't.
It ran right straight to my legs, seeing them (I suppose) as the only cover in the water that is clear and open, and a bit over waist deep. The water was a few inches above my belly button where I was wading, and clear enough I could easily see the gravel bottom. The big old orange breasted blue gill got between my ankles, something fish do a lot of in this brushless open water - but then it did something no fish has ever done to me. It shot straight up the inside of my left leg and then on up into my shorts.
The shorts leg was billowing out in the water and I guess the fish saw it as a dark place to hide and headed for it, driving up as close to the family heirlooms as any fish has ever gone.
Naturally I jumped around pumping my knees up and down and grabbing at my crotch. My fly rod was out of my hand and I didn't care a damn about it. I was trying to remove a fish that was playing havoc inside my shorts. Seems it couldn't go deep enough into cover and kept trying to go further, pushing hard against all resistance.
I finally got hold of the leader and pulled it downwards, in order to pull the fish out. The fish was fighting the line the way only a blue gill can do, while up close and personal like. Stiff dorsal fins were poking tender flesh, my son was hee-hawing, and I was all but crying like a little girl. Then the damn hook snagged in my shorts. I am so thankful that it was my shorts it snagged in, a micron to the right and it would have been snagged in something much much much less desirable.
I managed to get my hand up into my shorts and around the fish but because the hook was snagged I had a tussle still going on. Using my other hand I turned the shorts leg inside out and removed the hook, and the fish. The fish was foul hooked - the hook having penetrated the flesh near its eye and turned and come back out. I had pinched the barb so I was able to remove the hook from my shorts and the fish easily enough, once I had gained control of the situation.
And all I could think of was how it could have turned out, especially if that hook had a barb on it.
Yeah, I'm a convinced hook pincher now, for a fact, and I'm thinking of getting some of those spandex biker's shorts...and the fish? It swam off with all the insolence that only a bluegill can show.
Edited by Lloyd5 (08/31/15 10:24 AM)