The dangers of fishing?

Rick Cunningham
Special to the Hays Daily

This year I was fishing at one of my favorite bass ponds with a couple of fine young men who were on my baseball team this summer. Jarett started to yell for me to come. I thought he must have caught a big fish, as we like to take pictures of the nice fish.

I could see he was down on knees with a fish he had landed. Then his yelling intensified. He needed my help. I ran to him, only to find that he had a treble hook buried into his thumb. The more the fish flopped, the more the hook became imbedded deeper and deeper.

First of all we tried to settle him down, reassuring him that we would get the hook out. The first job was to get the fish off. We then moved to our tackle box and water jug. My plan was to ice his thumb to numb it and then pull the hook out. What always makes it so hard is the barb on the hook. It helps to keep that fish hooked, but it sure makes it difficult to get the hook out.

Jarett looked at me and told me to “Just get it out.” As soon as he told me that, I pulled it out. I’m sure it hurt, but it was out. He was OK, and we went back to fishing.

Six years ago, I was fishing at the stilling basin at Cedar Bluff, when I hooked my spinner in a thistle. As I was pulling, it came loose. I could see the lure flying directly at my face. I lowered my head, but the treble hook embedded into my upper lip. I cut the line and did my very best over and over to get it out.

Because of the barb and how much my lip would give, I had no luck. My wife Nancy and I ended up running to the emergency room. It was a funny story until I got the bill. Even though we have good insurance, it still cost me dearly.

I remember years ago, a couple of my nephews, Josh and Jeff, went fishing and Josh had hooked Jeff in the head. Jeff’s mother ran them to the hospital to have the hooks removed. It’s a story they still tell.

This year my boy Matt and I decided to go to Webster to fish. It was very windy. We got to our spot, unloaded the boat, laid it off to the side of my truck and started to get ready to fish. All of a sudden, I heard a loud noise followed by my son yelling in a lot of pain.

A gust of wind had picked up my 12-foot aluminum boat and pinned my son against my truck. The boat had hit him in the middle of the back and on his legs. I turned around to see my boy laying on the ground in a lot of pain. At first, we both thought that he had broken his back. As a father, it’s the last thing you want to see.

In a few minutes, he was up gingerly trying to walk. It was a great thing to see. It was a Sunday, and he was not able to go to work the next day. Although the recovery was slow, he was able to recover fully. Thank God! There’s no way we could have seen this coming, as I consider it a freak accident.

I have a good friend, Lynn, who works for Wildlife and Parks. He told me that anytime you go into the woods, whether it be looking for mushrooms, bowhunting, or fishing, you are out of your element and are putting yourself into some danger. So please continue to enjoy the outdoors, but please be careful!

May God bless you all.

Rick Cunningham is an avid outdoorsman from Ellis, KS