COLUMNIST: The ‘bush league’ doctor is in

It must be a corollary of Murphy’s Law – a seemingly endless run of wet, cold spring weather is finally broken by a blessed sunny day or two, but never on the weekend of a potential fishing trip – which features an automatic return to clouds and showers.

It must be a corollary of Murphy’s Law – a seemingly endless run of wet, cold spring weather is finally broken by a blessed sunny day or two, but never on the weekend of a potential fishing trip –  which features an automatic return to clouds and showers.

Nonetheless, call it determined optimism, or weather denial, or just blind faith, a pal and I are pushing ahead anyway with an upcoming angling adventure plan.

If nothing else, there’s always the anticipation of new forays into the bush – and memories of ventures past.

Which leads me to a fishing-related tale worth the retelling.

Many years back, a friend and I were working on a youth hostel not too far from Chilliwack Lake.

We were in mid-hammer one fine sunny day when a fellow walked up the path, and in Quebecois-mangled English, asked if we had “som plaars.”

With a good deal of gesturing, we got the idea. This obvious tourist wanted pliers.

Well, those we had, but why did he want them?

The explanation was about as confusing as the original request.

“Mon buddee, e as ook in is az. E is der. Non karr,” the guy says, pointing.

Good thing I took French accent in school. After some thinking, I was able to translate.

“I think he said his buddy has a hook in his ass, he’s just over there, and they don’t have a car.”

We went with the pliers. Just in case, I took a first aid kit.

I was bang-on. Buddy was in a nearby cabin, lying on his stomach on a mattress, clad only in swim trunks.

And there, imbedded in his lower right cheek, was the offending “ook.”

I assumed it was the usual routine. A couple of rookie fishermen, casting from shore. On the back cast, the lure snags on a branch, which dramatically changes its forward trajectory, and final target.

And what a huge brute of a lure it was.

Back in Quebec, those boys must have been fishing for pike, or land-locked sharks, or some such beasties, because this weapon – in loud red and white swirls, and equipped with a wicked treble hook – would have scared a trout out of its wits.

The thing was darned uncomfortable, if the fellow’s groans and his death grip on a bottle of muscatel were any indication.

I was concerned. Who would drink muscatel in a situation like this? Vodka, sure; whiskey, by all means; but muscatel? Please.

Clearly, pliers were not going to be the appropriate instrument, since one of the barbs was buried in butt-flesh.

Yanking this free would have left our victim with quite a divot in his derriere.

It would have to be cut out.

So, with my partner Rob holding a flashlight – along with his gut in silent laughter – I sterilized a razor blade, and told the victim to find bottom on his bottle.

And with no small degree of precision, Doc Holota and his able assistant proceeded to do bush surgery – with a successful outcome, I might add.

Later that night, the two Quebeckers – one with a slightly awkward gait – showed up at the hostel, packing another bottle of muscatel, which they presented with gratitude.

We humbly accepted their praise, and flapped our hands and arms through another conversation.

We didn’t tell them we could have loaded buddy into my car, and driven him to Chilliwack Hospital – featuring anesthetic – about a half-hour away.

But I’d never carved a hook out of someone’s keister before, and that was a fishing story you just can’t pass up.