Animals Childhood Family

Hook, pain and Parker.

My son loves to go fishing. We have ponds near our house, and he spends countless hours with a line in the water.

Oftentimes, he goes by himself, which is an awesome thing for a 14-year-old boy to go do. Just set off on your own, fishing pole in hand, and chill by the water.

But this night, he wanted his mom to come with him. I was cooking dinner, and he asked her if she would come and see his new lure in action. “Sure,” she said.

Parker, about 20 seconds before it all went south.

Fast forward about 10 minutes. I’m in the kitchen, happily watching Jeopardy! and getting our dinner prepped, thinking about how lovely it was that my wife was with our son, sitting on the bank of a serene pond, watching the bass tease the lure, just enjoying a lovely spring evening.

And then my phone rang. It was my wife. “GET DOWN TO THE POND NOW! PARKER HAS A HOOK IN HIS HAND!”

Now, first know this — my wife is the ace when it comes to first aid. She has tended to kids with a magnolia branch in the eyeball, stitch-requiring head wounds, and countless numbers of fluid expulsions from goodness knows where. She does not flinch at things like that. She goes into uber-cool robo-Docmom mode.

However, the one thing none of the previous medical emergencies had in common with this one – this one had a large bass attached to the medical problem. Even after more than 20 years in my family, she will admit to not being the biggest up close and personal fan of animals. She likes them at a distance, but certainly not inches away when she tries to perform first aid on her son.

I put dinner aside and grabbed a hook remover out of my son’s tackle box. It’s basically a pair of clamps on a long shaft that helps you remove a hook without getting yourself snarled in the hook when a fish thrashes. In retrospect, he probably should have taken it with him.

I arrived on the scene and my son was down at the base of the water. My wife was pointing to him, but that was really not necessary, as anyone within about 500 yards could hear my son. “THIS HURTS! THIS HURTS! THIS HURTS! DAD LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THIS BASS! THIS HURTS!”

I got to my son and assessed the situation. The lure had a total of four treble hooks. Two were in the fish. Two were in Parker. Using the hook remover, I quickly backed the first one out of Parker. I went to get the other one, and Parker let out an unholy yowl that you do not want to be responsible for causing in your child.

“OK,” I said. “Let’s get the fish free.”

The fish apparently heard me, as it decided that would be a good time to thrash wildly. At that point, a neighbor came over, having heard the commotion. The neighbor held the fish steady, and offered words of encouragement to Parker. I was able to free the fish, and he pitched it in the water. It swam off, no doubt laughing at the vengeance it had extracted.

There was one last hook stuck in Parker. Unfortunately, it has one of those reverse barbs in it, so backing the hook out was not going to be an option, unless I wanted to tear Parker’s skin to do it. Parker made it very clear he was not on board with that.

The neighbor got a wire snip, and I was able to clip the hook and slide it out where the barb didn’t catch. Free at last.

We got him home and cleaned up the wound. He’ll be fine, and no doubt back fishing probably by tomorrow. Just a hunch if anyone goes with him, it won’t be my wife.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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