The Most Dangerous Popular Hobby / Sport in America
On our very first fishing trip of this year, things went very wrong for my good friend and neighbor, Bob.(*) As we were unloading the rented rowboat, Bob gathered up his three rods and reels. He said nothing at first so I was surprised when he got into the car and showed me that a fish hook on a lure had gone right through his left thumb. I winced at the sight and looked away as Bob (seemingly without pain) tried to extract the hook from his thumb.
*(Bob isn’t his real name)
It turned out Bob couldn’t get the hook out and had to go to the emergency room at the hospital about ten miles away. Later Bob told me he’d gotten the bill from the hospital. After the insurance deduction Bob had to pay $247 for emergency service. Ouch and ouch again!
I had already signed up with a Facebook page for Michigan sport fishermen (and women). So I had also seen the many photos of “hooked” fishermen offered as a kind of shared joke. This all got me thinking about the injury statistics and I first looked up skateboarding. Was amazed to find that after exercise, basket ball and bicycles, skate boards were still way down in tenth place!
But when I looked up sport fishing injuries I found this from the British Journal of Sports Medicine: “Fishing involves millions of people throughout the world and is considered a pleasant and harmless sport. However, many kinds of injury can occur. Penetrating injuries to the extremities by fishing equipment such as hooks and harpoons, and even by scales, or infection from penetration of scales etc are relatively common although hardly ever reported in the literature.”
So it’s indefinite but probably in the hundreds of thousands of hook-related injuries among American sport fishermen. (Commercial fisherman experience different but significant injuries from falls, cuts and loose equipment.). Numerically speaking, getting hooked is probably the greatest danger one can face when they go out to catch a few fish for that fish fry.
Here’s where the details become most important. First you won’t likely find much about preventing being hooked, there doesn’t seem to be any way to prevent it. Instead you will find instructions for the safest way to remove fish hooks from your flesh. Such as “How To Remove Fish Hooks and Injury Prevention” on the Bass Pro website.
My personal fish hook safety measures include a velcro-sealing clear plastic taco-like folder (from Amazon) I put over any lure or hook I want to have on any fishing rod I want to carry by hand. Another one is just to keep a 1" x 1" x 4" plastic foam block I and put the sharp end of the hook in. You can keep several hooks at a time ready to attach to your line. Not that this prevents all hook hazards but they do reduce the danger quite a lot.
Be aware of what you’re doing when handling fish hooks.
Good luck to all you fishermen (and women). I hope this has been worth a few claps and will bring me a few new followers here on Medium.com.