It was to be a good day on the water. Paul and I were to
spend the day on Brushy Creek and explore some areas we have
never been to. There are several stretches where little to
no fishermen visits and we were planning to hit these areas
throughout the day. It was a fairly nice day but the wind
was kicking up periodically and casting was a bit of a
challenge. Now Paul is fairly new to this sport and while
his casting and placement is pretty good, his patience/presentation
was a little on the short side. I have talked, berated, filled
his waders with water and threatened to put a restraining order
to stay 500 feet from any moving water if he did not slow down
and present the fly to the fish. The problem was he would
perform a beautiful cast and let the fly sit for only a few
seconds. Then he would pick up and re-cast again. This would
go on all day and at the end of the day he would always wonder
why I always caught and released more fish. I have even considered
getting one of those Anti-barking collars, you know, the ones to
put on a dog and when it barks the collar delivers a mild shock.
They also have a remote. See where I'm going with this?
Anyway back to the story. We were out fishing a very promising
area and picking up some nice bream. Paul decided to move
downstream and hit a small pool where some activity had been
noticed. I yelled out to him "Hey, you better get out of the
water and work yourself around to the windward side or you are
going to be casting into the wind." Remember the wind was not
steady just a strong periodic puff or so. During the winds I
would just hang out and enjoy the scenery and wait for the lull
then cast. Not Paul.
While I was waiting during one of the windy periods, I heard this
huge commotion going on in Paul's direction and a lot of words
not normally connected with catching a nice fish. I figured he
had hung a favorite and last of its kind fly, out of reach in
tree. So I wondered over, as the wind seemed to be relentless
this time the see what was up. Paul was looking to be in a lot
of pain and holding his hand up over his mouth. I ran over to
see what I could do and discovered the fly had driven itself
deep into his lip. I told Paul not to worry since I only tie
barbless hooks and to just pull it out as there would be little
to no damage. One look on his face pretty much convinced me he
was a non-believer. Upon closer inspection I saw why - it was
not one of mine and probably barbed.
So I cut the line as close as he would let me and ran him down
to the local emergency room for "hook removal." Now this is where
it starts to get comical.
This is a small community and not some big city hospital and people
are still treated as family. During the check in phase the nurse
had us fill out some paperwork etc. When she asked, "What is the
nature of the problem?" Paul removed his hand to show a nice
hopper imitation hanging onto his now swollen lip. The nurse
simply replied, "I don't even want to know, just fill out these
forms and a doctor will be with you shortly." At this we went to
sit down but not before we noticed her shutting the service
window and hearing stifled laughter emitting from her station.
The wait was short and we were ushered into a room and I was just
sitting in a spare chair more for moral support than anything else.
The doctor came in and said by the chart the patient had a "Fly?"
stuck in his mouth? When Paul dropped his hand the doctor in
controlled professionalism just cracked the slightest smile.
He assured Paul that it would be out quickly and almost
Well after it was all over and Paul was ready to leave, the doctor
just could not stand it anymore and with a big grin said, "Son,
if you can't figure out which mouth that fly goes into. I
suggest you find a less taxing sport!" then chuckling to himself,
moved off to the next room. Now Paul was pretty crestfallen
after that and after picking myself up off the floor I assured
him the Doc was just getting his two cents in. I told him, "You
have to admit, these guys see a lot of grave things and yours
just got a good laugh for them. Besides by tomorrow you are
going to see just how funny this was."
Think it ended there? As we were driving home, me doing the
driving, Paul was reading his discharge papers and started to
laugh or at least as much as he could. I asked him what was
so funny? In the paperwork in a section titled "Follow up and Prevention"
the doctor wrote: "Always cast quarter wind or crosswind, keep
the fly on your downwind side and place your rod tip at about
a 30 degree angle out from your body. This will still give you
excellent control and the fly will never cross your face in case
the wind picks up unexpectedly."
What do you know, a fly fishing doctor! Paul went back a couple
of weeks later and gave him a small box of flies that do very
well in our area and "Doc" fishes with us whenever he gets a chance.
Paul learned his lesson that day and his presentations today are
excellent! We do laugh about it and he has repeatedly asked me
to tell him what my most embarrassing moment while fishing was.
Little chance of that.
I still give Paul a good ribbing every now and then, "Hey Paul,
you are your own best catch!"
Until next time, GO FISH! ~ Hillfisher
Publishers Note: Just in case you are not close to a
friendly emergency room, here is how to remove a hook, barbed or
barbless: On-stream Hook Removal