The dreaded hook removal can be painless if the proper technique is employed. Hooks are dangerous things but as anglers we are around them so much that it is easy to forget that the object you are casting is a very sharp pointed needle. This time of year when throwing streamers I am reminded at least a couple times that hooks sting when they hit and embed into your flesh. The back of the head, ear and back are generally the areas that take some hook abuse. I am sure some of you have had similar experiences of a heavy cone head streamer slapping you in the back of the head when you are anxiously making a cast.
De-barbing the hook is the best way to ensure an easy hook removal from your exterior clothing and skin. Although we try to practice de-barbing sometimes it is overlooked as we rush to make a cast in our favorite run. When a hook is buried to the bend simply pulling it out is not an option. This usually results in a lot of screaming and yelling. The best way to remove a buried hook with a barb is to find a heavy piece of Mono (butt section of a leader works well), fly line or backing and make a loop around the bend of the hook. Then with your other hand push down on the eye of the hook and pull the heavy line that is wrapped around the bend. This pops the hook out quickly and for the most part is painless (this technique is best used with 2 people).
One of the best hook removals I had to do was on a grown man who buried a copper john into the middle meat of his nose. I was smirking the entire time he screamed about the hook. I had been telling him all day that if he didn’t pause on his roll cast he was going to hook himself. When it finally happened it got himself good and was on the verge of crying. ” do I need stitches he whimpered.” I got the hook out and we left for the day. I am certain my tip was very low that day. Use this technique next time you bury a fly into your buddies ear.