Friday night, I packed up myself and the doggies and we hit the road with my friend to a lake house in Wisconsin. We drove through a beautiful sunset and a torrential downpour in a span of an hour and a half but we made it in one piece.
Thanks to a safe arrival and a little Redbox, that night, Paul Blart made an appearance on the tv as I watched it through the back of my eyelids and snored on the couch.
The next day was beautiful. Hot, sunny, big white puffy clouds in the sky, the perfect kind of day to do some wave running and paddle boating. So we hit the water, I got a fun 30mph splashy tour of the lakes, and when we got back to land we decided to take the paddle boat out to a pier to fish.
Even though I told him there was no way I was catching anything but algae fish like I always do, he guaranteed me that I would catch a real live fish this time. I had my doubts. But I tried. I cast, I waited, I saw the bobber move, I pulled, I lost it. I tried again, and of course I reeled in an algae fish. I cast again, but then, wait, was that a nibble? I pulled back, quick little movements, and I did it! I finally reeled in my first fish. I made my friend take it off the hook, a little blue gill, and he threw it back in the water. I was proud of myself after years of fishing and catching nothing but seaweed, I finally got my hook in a real live fish.
We climbed back into the paddleboat and started slowly making our way back to shore. It was absolutely beautiful out on the water just floating along slowly as our legs twirled in circles like riding a water bicycle. We decided to cast our lines a few more times from the paddleboat in the hopes of catching something worth cooking up for dinner. We threw light casts as we were 2 feet away from each other and then all of a sudden something slapped me hard in the back of my arm. I looked down…AND THERE WAS A FISHING LURE STUCK TO ME. A little plastic fish with 2 treble hooks was lodged in my skin.
My friend had hooked me.
Neither one of us could believe it and I would have absolutley panicked if I had been the hooker, but as the hookee I stayed calm as we paddled back to shore. As we floated past the neighbors out on their pier, he yelled, “heeeeeeeey there, is anyone a doctor?”
“No, but she’s a nurse!” one of them yelled back as they scrambled to meet us at the dock.
We were met by 3 neighbors, one who had run in to grab a pair of rusty wire cutters with good intentions.
“Can I do anything?” another one asked.
“Alcohol,” my friend said.
“All we have is vodka, what would you like?” she asked me.
In the meantime, they had managed to cut the plastic fish off of me but I was left with 2 hooks lodged in the back of my arm and a cup full of vodka and ice that went down a little too smoothly in the moment of crisis. I told them to yank them out, YANK THEM, I didn’t want them in me.
“We might have to push them through the other way, they have barbs,” my friend said.
“I don’t care, I have a high tolerance for pain, I’ve had piercings and a freakin baby, I can take 2 hooks being pulled out of me, JUST YANK THEM OUT, JUST DO IT,” I said.
They tried to cut the extra hooks off so there would just be one at each site that they could push through but they pinched skin with the rusty wire cutters which made me flinch, the first real pain I felt, and as soon as I said “ow” they stopped.
I told them again to just pull and as the nurse half-ass yanked for fear of hurting me, the other neighbor standing in front of me asked if I needed something to bite on for the pain. He offered his fuzzy freckly arm and told me to just bite it, “bite my arm!” and he offered it to me as a sacrifice of sympathy. I declined. Because as weird as it was to have 2 people pulling hooks out of my arm, the thought of biting down on a stranger’s forearm like a bullet seemed even weirder and I probably would have drawn blood.
As they tried to pull, I could feel one of them was right at the surface but the other one, it just wasn’t budging and they knew it, too.
“Oh, I have an idea!” one of them said. “Do we have any toothpicks? We could stick the toothpick in the hole, get it under the skin and push the skin up and over the barb and….”
“Take me to the ER,” I said. It was getting a little too experimental-doctor-like for me, plus I had a hunch none of them had a tetanus shot in their back pockets.
Honestly, it still did not hurt at that point. Maybe I was in shock. Maybe fish hooks really don’t hurt. Maybe the back of the arm is a much better spot to get hooked than say the face, or neck, or chest or back. Who knows. All I know is that I was able to slip a shirt on over my bathing suit…
caught in the wild – the elusive Jaime fish
…take a car ride to the ER, calmly check in with the front desk, and then get numbed up by the doc. He grabbed a pair of pliers (shiny and sterile thank god), and he yanked those suckers out. A tetanus shot and an antibiotics prescription later, we were out of there.
6 days later I’m happy to report that I have 2 little bruises and the worst part was the recovery from the tetanus shot because those suckers hurt like a mother fucker for days. At least I’m covered for the next 10 years. Or you know, until the next time I’m out on a boat, get hooked by a fishing lure, find myself in the ER and can’t remember when my last tetanus shot was.
Karma. I put a hook in a fish and I got hooked back. And that, my friends, is how not to fish.