Are you an avid angler or planning to embark on a fishing adventure?
Beware of common fishing sport injuries that could turn your relaxing escape into a painful experience.
From sunburn and dehydration to back injuries and tendonitis, these hazards lurk in the shadows, ready to strike at any moment.
In this article, we’ll dive into various fishing injuries, giving you crucial insights to stay safe and enjoy the sport you love.
No fish tale here, just real talk about fishing dangers.
Table of Contents
- Hook Injuries (hands, eyes)
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Sprains and Strains (often from repetitive casting)
- Insect Bites and Stings
- Injuries from Handling Fish (spines, teeth)
- Fall Injuries (from slipping on wet surfaces)
- Back Injuries (from lifting heavy equipment)
- Tendonitis (from repetitive motion)
- Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke
- Sea Sickness
- Jellyfish Stings
- Injuries from Boat Propellers
- Lightning Strikes
- How to Treat Fishing Sport Injuries
- How to Prevent Fishing Sport Injuries
Sunburn is a common fishing injury that occurs when your skin becomes red, inflamed, and painful due to prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Without proper protection such as sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothing, sunburn can progress to dangerous levels, leading to skin peeling and even skin cancer.
Prevention is key – always wear appropriate sun protection and take breaks in shaded areas.
Hook Injuries (hands, eyes)
Fishing hook injuries can happen when the sharp metal penetrates the skin, causing punctures and deep cuts.
Hands are particularly susceptible, but hooks can also reach sensitive areas like the eyes, posing a threat to vision.
Always handle hooks with caution, use protective gear like gloves, and keep a first aid kit handy to treat injuries as soon as they happen.
Dehydration can occur when you lose more fluids than you consume, causing troubling symptoms like dizziness, confusion, and even fainting.
Prolonged exposure to the sun and physical exertion during fishing activities may exacerbate the risks.
Staying hydrated is crucial. Drink plenty of water, consume sports beverages containing electrolytes, and avoid too much alcohol to prevent dehydration.
Cuts and Lacerations
Cuts and lacerations from tools, equipment, or the environment can easily occur while fishing.
Sharp objects, jagged rocks, broken glass, or even fish scales may cause injuries, some of which can be severe and lead to infections if not properly treated.
Keep wounds clean, avoid using damaged or rusty equipment, and always carry a first aid kit for immediate care.
Sprains and Strains (often from repetitive casting)
Sprains and strains are common injuries in fishing sports, resulting from repetitive motion or improper technique, especially during casting.
Overextension and lack of stretching can lead to muscle and ligament strains around the shoulders, wrists, and ankles.
To minimize the risk, use proper techniques, warm up and stretch before fishing, and take breaks to avoid overexertion.
Insect Bites and Stings
Insects like mosquitoes, bees, and ants can transform a serene fishing trip into an itchy, painful experience.
Bites and stings may cause mild reactions, or trigger severe allergic reactions for some individuals.
Apply insect repellent and cover exposed skin with long sleeves and pants to prevent bites, and carry a first aid kit stocked with antihistamines in case of a reaction.
Injuries from Handling Fish (spines, teeth)
Fish are equipped with sharp teeth, spines, fins, and gill plates that can cause injuries when handling them.
Cuts, punctures, and even venomous stings from certain species can occur.
Wear protective gloves, learn how to properly hold different types of fish, and always handle fish with care and caution.
Fall Injuries (from slipping on wet surfaces)
Slips and falls are common fishing accidents, with wet surfaces on boats or riverbanks posing a significant risk for injuries such as sprains, fractures, or head trauma.
Wear appropriate non-slip footwear and maintain proper balance while moving around in wet and slippery areas.
Use caution when getting in and out of boats, and always hold onto railings or other stable structures.
Back Injuries (from lifting heavy equipment)
Lifting heavy fishing equipment, coolers, or even large fish can lead to back injuries like strains, sprains, or even more severe issues like herniated discs.
Use proper lifting techniques such as bending at the knees, keeping a straight back, and holding the object close to your body to minimize the risk.
Seek assistance when lifting heavy objects and avoid overexerting yourself.
Tendonitis (from repetitive motion)
Tendonitis occurs when tendons become inflamed or irritated due to overuse or strain, particularly from repetitive motions like casting.
Symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness around the affected joint.
Proper fishing practices, regular stretching, and periodic breaks can help prevent tendonitis and keep you on the water longer.
Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious heat-related illnesses that can result from prolonged exposure to high temperatures and inadequate fluid intake.
These conditions can cause symptoms such as dizziness, headache, nausea, and even unconsciousness.
Prevent heat-related injuries by wearing light, breathable clothing, staying hydrated, and taking breaks in the shade.
Sea sickness, or motion sickness, can occur during boat-based fishing outings due to the continuous rocking motion of the vessel. This can lead to symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
To prevent sea sickness, take anti-motion-sickness medication before the trip, maintain an object in your sight as a reference point, and try to stay near the center of the boat.
Hypothermia is a dangerous condition where the body loses heat faster than it can produce, resulting in a dangerously low body temperature.
It can occur while fishing in cold water or weather without proper protective clothing.
Wear appropriate layers, including insulated and waterproof materials, to retain body heat and stay dry. In case of symptoms like shivering, confusion, or numbness, seek medical attention immediately.
Jellyfish stings can occur while fishing in coastal or deep-sea areas, causing a range of symptoms from mild discomfort to severe pain and even life-threatening reactions.
Wear protective clothing and avoid direct contact with jellyfish if encountered, and treat stings as per recommended guidelines, such as rinsing the affected area with vinegar and immersing in hot water.
Drowning is a tragic and all too common occurrence among fishing enthusiasts who venture out on boats or near water.
Always wear a life jacket when on a boat, regardless of your swimming ability, and avoid consuming alcohol before or during fishing activities.
If fishing from shore, exercise caution on unstable or slippery surfaces to minimize the risk of falling into the water.
Injuries from Boat Propellers
Boat propellers pose a significant risk for serious injuries while fishing, from cuts and lacerations to amputations, and even death.
Always pay attention to the position of the propeller when entering or exiting the water, and ensure the engine is switched off and the propeller is stopped when someone is in the water nearby.
It is crucial to always adhere to the appropriate safety protocols while on board the vessel.
Lightning strikes can be a deadly threat during fishing excursions, especially on open bodies of water.
If you hear thunder or see lightning, immediately find shelter in a sturdy, enclosed structure or in your car if available.
Stay away from tall trees, open water, metal objects, and electrical equipment that may attract lightning strikes.
Always monitor weather conditions and postpone your trip if storms are in the forecast.
How to Treat Fishing Sport Injuries
- Sunburn treatment includes applying aloe vera gel, cold compresses, or over-the-counter creams containing hydrocortisone to soothe the skin and reduce redness. In severe cases, oral pain medications or anti-inflammatory medications may be required. Drink plenty of fluids to help rehydrate the skin.
- Hook injuries can be managed by cleaning the affected area with warm water and mild soap, and applying antibiotic ointment and sterile dressing. In case of a deeply embedded hook, a professional may need to perform surgery to remove the hook safely.
- Dehydration and heat-related illnesses can be treated by rehydrating with water or electrolyte-rich sports drinks, resting in a cool place, and potentially using cold compresses or taking a cool shower to lower body temperature. In severe cases, intravenous fluids or hospitalization may be needed.
- For cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds: Clean the wound with water and soap, apply an antibiotic ointment, cover it with a sterile dressing, and change the dressing regularly. Seek medical attention if the wound shows signs of infection or doesn’t start to heal within a few days.
- In the case of sprains and strains: Follow the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate pain. Consult a healthcare professional if the symptoms persist or worsen over time.
- Treat insect bites and stings with cold compresses, over-the-counter pain relievers, antihistamines to alleviate itching or allergic reactions, and antibiotic ointment if any skin abrasions occur. Seek emergency care if a severe allergic reaction occurs.
- For injuries from handling fish such as cuts, punctures, or venomous stings, clean and dress the wound as described above. In case of venomous stings, seek immediate medical attention.
How to Prevent Fishing Sport Injuries
Fishing is a popular sport that offers numerous benefits, but it can also lead to various injuries. Understanding common risks and preventative measures ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
- Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothing to prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer.
- Handle fishing hooks cautiously and use gloves to prevent punctures and cuts on hands and sensitive areas like the eyes.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and sports beverages with electrolytes, and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Maintain clean equipment and carry a first aid kit to treat any cuts or lacerations promptly to prevent infection.
- Warm up, stretch, and use proper techniques to minimize repetitive motion injuries like sprains, strains, and tendonitis.
- Apply insect repellent and cover exposed skin with clothing to prevent bites and stings from insects.
- Wear protective gloves and learn to handle fish properly to avoid injuries from spines, teeth, and other sharp features.
- Wear non-slip footwear and exercise caution on wet and slippery surfaces to avoid fall injuries.
- Use proper lifting techniques and seek assistance when handling heavy equipment to prevent back injuries.
- Wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions, including layers and waterproof materials, to prevent hypothermia and heat-related issues.
- Always wear a life jacket when on a boat and avoid alcohol to reduce the risk of drowning incidents.
- Follow safety protocols around boat propellers to prevent serious injuries like amputations and death.
- Monitor weather conditions and seek proper shelter during storms to avoid lightning strikes and other dangers.
What are some prevention tips for sunburn during fishing trips?
To prevent sunburn during fishing trips, wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothing to block the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Additionally, take breaks in shaded areas to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
How can one minimize the risk of hook injuries while fishing?
To minimize the risk of hook injuries, always handle hooks with caution, use protective gear like gloves, and keep a first aid kit handy to treat injuries as soon as they happen. Be mindful of your surroundings and where hooks are at all times.
What measures can be taken to prevent dehydration during fishing activities?
To prevent dehydration during fishing activities, drink plenty of water, consume sports beverages containing electrolytes, and avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Stay well-hydrated and take breaks to reduce the risk of dehydration.
How can one avoid sprains and strains while fishing?
To avoid sprains and strains while fishing, use proper techniques, warm up and stretch before fishing, and take breaks to avoid overexertion. Proper casting and body mechanics can help prevent injuries from repetitive actions.