Fish Hooks Can Hurt

I’ve had my share of fish hooks stuck in my hands and head, as have most of my friends. Here are a few of my stories.

Many years ago, I was fishing the brook behind my house and tying on a new lure when my dog ran by me, catching his legs on my fishing line, and driving the lure deep into my hand. I drove myself to the hospital emergency room to get the hook removed, and when the doctor saw the hook in my hand, he said, “Oh, you caught a big one!”

My friend Harry Vanderweide was fishing with Dad and me on the lower Kennebec River, where we caught lots of bluefish. But on the last bluefish of the day, instead of leaving it in the water to release it, Harry grabbed the fish by the mouth and hauled it into the boat. And one of the hooks got buried deep in Harry’s hand.

I had to first get the hook out of the fish, which was flapping around, before trying to get the hook out of Harry’s hand, which I was unable to do. So Harry wrapped up his hand in a cloth, boated us back to the landing at Bath, loaded the boat on the trailer, and drove all the way home with the hook still in his hand.

One time a friend and I hiked into little Nesowadnehunk lake where we had a couple of canoes. I put my friend in the front of the canoe and I sat in back. On his very first cast, his line came back over my head and when he went forward with it, his fly hooked into the back of my ear.

Fortunately, Harry and I, after that episode on the Kennebec River, had gotten information on how to easily remove a hook from your body. Essentially you push down on the end of the hook, put a string around the hook, and you can easily pull the hook out of your body on the same path it went in.

So we paddled the canoe to shore, got out, and I showed my friend how to remove the hook from my ear which he did. Then I put him in the other canoe and pushed him back out into the pond.

One time my wife Linda and I were fishing on Nesowadnehunk stream, and when I cast behind me, my line wrapped right around Linda’s head, with the hook dangling in front of her face. Yup, she was not impressed with my casting ability.

One time a friend and I were waiting in a small airport in Alaska to fly to a sporting camp, when a small plane landed and a group of guys got out. One of them had a huge lure stuck in his head and dangling down his cheek. Very fashionable!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.