HIBBING — With the fishing season officially open in Minnesota, the many lakes and waterways of this region beckon to individuals and families to try their luck with a hook and bait.

Yet, there are a few important things to consider before heading out on that fishing expedition.

As the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) points out for those who will be boating this summer, you should make sure that everyone in your party has a life jacket — before you even drop your line into the water.

State law requires children under 10 years old to wear a life jacket while a boat is underway. A readily accessible and wearable life jacket is required for each person onboard a boat. This includes canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and waterfowl boats, according to the DNR.

Emergency preparedness is also important.

Essentia Health recommends having a tackle box with an electrician’s pliers with a wire-cutting blade and disinfecting solution in it. Other important items to have include water, flashlights, maps, a cell phone or radio, and extra batteries or a phone charger.

For fun in the sun, the DNR suggests that anglers stay dry, warm and protected from the elements. It’s also a good idea to wear a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15.

Finally, wearing thin layers of clothing that progress outward to include water and wind protection as the final layer can make or break a day on the water.

One of the most common fishing accidents is getting hooked — not on fishing, but by the hook itself.

The Essentia health medical team notes that pushing a hook through your skin and cutting the barb can introduce another potential wound for infection. Also, do not try to remove a fish hook that is deeply embedded in the skin, lodged within a joint or tendon or located in or near an eye or artery.

If you are at all unsure, it is best to seek medical attention immediately. The best method for hook removal is the “string yank technique,” which involves removing the hook barb and all.

Here’s the breakdown of the string yank technique:

1. Remove hook from lure by cutting at attachment ring.

2. Tape any additional free hooks to prevent the hooks from also getting embedded.

3. First, wash your hands with soap and water, or disinfecting solution, and then wash the area surrounding the hook.

4. Tie off a loop with some fishing line. Place the loop over the hook’s shank and lightly pull it against the bend of the hook.

5. With your other hand, press down and back on the hook’s eye.

6. Continue pressing down on the hook’s eye. Quickly and firmly jerk the fishing line backward, ensuring that the line is parallel to the shank. Don’t worry, only a tiny bit of skin is behind the barb.

7. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and apply a bandage.

8. Watch the area for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pain or drainage.

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