Hook almost drags fisherman to sea
The last thing fisherman Robin Gilchrist, 73, expected to catch with his brand-new Kontiki motorised fishing raft was himself.
The man, from Browns Bay on Auckland's North Shore, hoped to snag some decent snapper for tea, but his finger was pierced by a stray hook that threatened to drag him out to sea.
''It was going out a lot faster than normal and the bait hook flicked up into my finger.
''I had to race down the beach pretty quickly with the line while the other guy I was with stopped the motor.''
Browns Bay community constable Paul Donaldson has been hailed as the resident finger surgeon after dealing to the hook with a pair of bolt-cutters more commonly used when carrying out search warrants.
It was the first time Gilchrist had launched the $4,000 machine, on the morning of February 7.
''Initially I tried to push it [the hook] out myself with some pliers but it was stuck on the bone,'' he said.
In need of more heavy duty cutters, Gilchrist took himself to the medical centre where nurses tried in vain to remove the hook.
Even wire-cutters could not break the high tensile hook.
''They told me I was going to need an operation. I said 'just pull the bloody thing out', but they wouldn't do it.
''There was some squid bait hanging off it that freaked them out a bit.''
Gilchrist was about to return to his fishing, with the hook still lodged in his finger, when he was told to try the police station.
It was there Donaldson came to the rescue with a pair of 400 millimetre bolt cutters.
''We use them for carrying out search warrants, gaining access to locked gates, cutting padlocks, that sort of thing,'' Donaldson said.
With a bit of muscle the stainless steel long-line hook was cut free.
''When all else fails go and see Dr Paul Donaldson,'' Gilchrist joked.
''I did think at the time 'what a waste of a good hook', but I suppose it could've been worse.''
Gilchrist said he gathered a full haul of snapper with his Kontiki the next day.
The incident has done little to deter him from using his new toy.