This summer, I was invited to a friend’s friend’s place. This friend of a friend was holding an event called ‘Troutapalooza‘, and last I checked, this guy doesn’t turn down offers like that. He had an amply stocked trout pond and I had my first lessons in fly fishing that night – super fun. Landing a large rainbow for my dinner didn’t take long, and while looking for the fish bonker to dispatch the fish, my new fishing teacher held the fish firmly and whacked it with his knuckles, killing the fish swiftly. I was impressed. I so had to try that. So I did that night, killing a few fish with my bare hands, wondering why I’d ever done anything different. So effective, so easy, so low tech.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I’m at Talbot Lake in Jasper National Park with my family, not being able to stay away after shooting S1E4 of FTW there. I catch a pike in short order, and use my new-found manly, rugged fish-bonking technology of my knuckles. All went well, except that I was shortly thereafter in slight shock, looking for the first aid kit in my vehicle to get the bleeding stopped in my knuckles. The cuts were small, but deep, beyond the capabilities of a band-aid and more in gauze and tape territory. Once seated, bandaged, and assessing what the heck I did wrong, I looked at the fish, with its obvious bony skill protrusions that had easily spit me open. Easy takeaway: when it comes to knuckle fish kills, trout yes, pike no.