The snatch method was clearly superior despite the fact that I had never tried it before. It worked well for both treble and J-hooks alike. If you have no local anesthesia available, the push-through method can be diffi cult, espe-
cially under real conditions as tested. With the push-through method you have to account for undamaged tissue that you are about to pass the hook through. "Am I going to pass this through an artery?" is just one of the questions that should be asked. Ease-of-use score: Snatch method=5, Push-through method=2.
A companion then wraps a loop of 80-pound mono around the fi rst embedded hook and "snatches" parallel to the fl esh while Paul uses a fi nger to apply fi rm pressure on the hook's eye, downward and forward, in the direction of the mono.
Inset:" The "snatch" method's speedy result.
Dr. Paul begins the
stabilizing the hook
and then clipping
off the hook's eye,
Availability of Equipment
The equipment needed for the snatch method is readily available on any fi shing boat. All that is needed is a sturdy two-foot length of leader material and a not-so-good friend to do the snatching. For the push-
through method you need a sturdy set of side cutters and a pair of pliers. For those of you who have tried, you know how diffi cult some hooks are to cut without bolt cutters. Now, try cut-
ting one on rolling seas, in your leg while in pain. While preparing for this story, I looked at the side cutters that I keep on my boat for this purpose. They were unused and hopelessly rusted. It's a good thing I brought another pair! Availability of equipment score: Snatch method=5, Push-through method=3.
Value to Friends
As far as entertainment value for friends is concerned, the push-through method of hook removal is vastly superior to the snatch method. This was accentuated when I had to use the bait knife to cut an exit hole for the uncharacteristically dull hook to pass through. The snatch method happens so fast that it is almost anticlimactic. In short, if you are out to impress friends, use the push-through method. Entertainment value scale:
Snatch method=1, Push-through method=5.
Be advised, the "snatch" method, when per-
formed correctly, removes embedded hooks very quickly and has a tendency to shoot the hook across the boat or at the aid snatching the leader. Shield-
ing your face and eyes during the actual snatching portion of the procedure is highly recommended.
Pain Scale Comparison
As you can imagine, both meth-
ods hurt--as should be expected of
a sharp piece of metal being plunged
in to the depths of your fl esh. It's
the level of pain during extraction
that surprised me the most. I fully
expected the snatch method to hurt
like Hades when compared to the
push-through method. I envisioned
hunks of muscle, fat and connective
tissue attached to the barb when
it was backed out using the snatch
method. I'm not too proud to say that
my original hypothesis was wrong.
The fl eeting pain associated with the
snatch method was markedly less
intense than with the push-through
method. To drive this point home, I volunteered
to use the snatch method
for removal of a treble
hook, but I quickly re-
jected the notion of using
the push-through method.
Pain scale: Snatch method=2 (but quick!), Push-through method=4.
Another Real-Time Test
Later that evening I was too tired (really, too lazy) to put my fi shing poles in the shed where they are normally kept. Instead they were leaned neatly inside the house by the back door--over the dog bed. At about 2:00 a.m., I was awakened by God-awful howling and my wife's yelling. As it turned out, the family bulldog had impaled herself through the hind foot with a brand new Stretch-
30 treble hook. Having just removed three hooks earlier that day, I was preparing to use the snatch method before realizing it just wouldn't work with nothing to an-
chor the eye of the hook to. Thanks to lidocaine and needles, the hook was removed in the most humane manner possible using the push-through method. The family pet came through the ordeal with out so much as a limp, despite the fact that I deserved to be bitten for being irresponsible with such dangerous fi shing equipment.
Prevention is really the key so that you don't have to test these methods out yourself. Secure those fi shing poles and lures away from others at home and take the lure off of the line while under-
way in a boat if at all possible.