“You ready to go home or do you want to fish a little while longer?” I asked Hunter, our thirteen-year-old grandson. The sun had gone down about a half-hour earlier and dusk was beginning to settle into the evening. The long ridge of hardwoods to the west of the lake stood silhouetted against a reddish sky. A great heron had flown by just a few minutes earlier, so close that we could hear the soft, thumping whoosh-whoosh of its wings. We had fished for over an hour and caught only a couple of fish, but in the last ten minutes we’d caught five or six.
“Let’s fish a little longer,” Hunter answered.
So, I gave him the only rod with a lure that had not yet been claimed by the submerged limbs near the spillway intake and began tying on another lure on one of the other rods. I figured I was wasting my time putting a small Jitterbug on; I thought it was still too early in the season for a surface lure. My first cast proved me wrong.
Just over halfway back on the retrieve, a nice bass unleashed an aggressive hit on the gurgling plug. It was not a large fish but on the micro-casting outfit I was using, it was a really fun fight. Getting the fish off was less fun.
This particular Jitterbug is only a couple inches long with two small treble hooks. I managed to get the one that was hooked outside the fish’s mouth undone pretty quickly. As I held the fish as firmly as I could and worked to free the other hook, it pulled a Houdini/Jackie Chan on me.
One instant I was holding the fish with my left hand and the hook with my right hand. The next instant, after an impressively vigorous flop, the fish was on the ground and there was nothing in my right hand. There was a stinging in my left hand, well, actually, at the end of the middle finger of my left hand. Hanging from that finger was my favorite lure.
Three attempts to push the barb back through the flesh proved unfruitful and a bit unpleasant as well. Trying to flatten the barb with my fingernail clippers had a similar result. I cut the line with the clippers, then had Hunter twist the lure counter-clockwise while I held the hook firmly. Very firmly, I might say. After several twists, the little eye-screw that holds the hook to the lure was separated from the lure. We gathered up everything and headed to the truck.
Fortunately, the guy fishing a quarter-mile away had a good pair of side-cutting pliers. With the barb clipped off, the hook pulled out easily and my small injury is healing nicely.
It took a lot longer to get over some of those other situations when I thought I was in charge and ended up taking the barb myself. God’s grace is sufficient to soothe our wounds, even those that are the result of our own doing.