How to Get a Brim off a Hook
For the How-To Issue
Congratulations! You’ve gone fishing and managed catch yourself a bluegill, known to rednecks everywhere as a brim. We will now embark on a physical and spiritual journey to get it off the hook so that you can revel in applause from your big-city travel companions and that squirrel that’s been hanging out by the picnic table all morning, maybe.
1. This type of fish is usually pretty small, rarely larger than an average-sized human hand. Go ahead and balance the handle of your fishing rod on a stable surface (like the ground, if you aren’t on a fault line), and take hold of the line right above the hook. If it’s a brim of any gumption, the fish will struggle a bit, so wait for it to stop wiggling before attempting to de-hook.
Yes, I guess if you’re not used to it a live fish is kind of a squirmy, slimy chunk of scary nature. But you knew what this was; take a deep breath, remember that we’re all chunks of scary nature of a certain kind, and proceed.
2. Once the fish wears itself out, slide your hand down around its body, starting from the head, using a small amount of pressure to grip the fish in your fist. The tips of the dorsal fin along its spine are incredibly sharp, so be careful! As long as you flatten them against the fish’s body in a downward direction, you’ll be fine.
This is the only chance the fish will have to physically hurt you, but don’t let that psyche you out, because it is a tiny fish and you a person who has read an online tutorial about how to do this sort of thing. Approach the task at hand with a calm heart. Stay humble always; that fish didn’t ask to want the cheese you put on that hook.
3. By this point, you should have the brim’s entire body encircled by your hand, so the next step is to extract the hook. Slowly maneuver the hook back through the hole it made in the side of the fish’s mouth, and be careful that the barb makes it through as well.
In most cases, the hole that’s already been created by the hook is large enough to slip the barb out harmlessly. Yes, fishing is by nature a bit savage — you’re catching things on pointy hooks! — but that doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole about it, so try to minimize the fish’s pain. Fish karma could come in handy sometime.
4. By now you are holding a fish in your hand. Throw it back, or don’t. (Be the architect of your own house here, but brim are small, don’t provide much meat, and are good for the ecosystem of a lake, so I always throw mine back.)
That feeling you are feeling is accomplishment and a closeness with nature. Go tell others what you have learned. Or just send them a link to this piece. Also, that squirrel by the picnic table is not going to clap because he is a dick.
NEXT TUTORIAL: HOW TO MAKE A SQUIRREL CLAP