4 Fish You Need to Handle with Care
As a newbie fisherman, you would probably think that every fish has to be handled in the same way. After all, they are essentially just fish, right? Well, not exactly – while some of them you have seen on TV as being equipped with some whiskers or just harmless spikes, they are capable of hurting you, causing great pain, and even killing you if you are not paying attention.
Every fish has to be handled in a special way. First of all, because you wouldn’t want it to escape, and then because you wouldn’t want it to bite, sting, or even poison you. If you are a more experienced angler and have decided to go for a bigger, more exotic catch, here are some things you have to know.
Below, we will present you four of the fish that must be handled with extreme caution – be sure to follow our advice and you shouldn’t have any serious issues with them.
While quite mesmerizing to look at, the Lionfish is capable of giving you a sting – or more – that you will never forget. It has venomous spines that emerge from the sides and the back of the body.
Their numbers have increased in Miami and Virginia, but they are native to other places. For example, in the Dominican Republic, the waters are so populated with Lionfish that the locals simply refuse to swim as they fear of being accidentally stung by one.
The Lionfish has no natural enemies and it can basically feast on every reasonably-sized sea creature around it – studies show that they can eat up to 30,000 smaller fish in only one year.
They are considered pretty tasty, so you might find yourself with a fresh Lionfish ready to be cooked on your table. The necessary precautions you have to take consist of gloves, which should be worn for the entire time you are handling the fish.
Before starting to fillet the fish, you will have to carefully remove all of the venomous spines – you can do so using a pair of scissors. If you happen to be stung by a Lionfish, you should apply hot water to the area that’s been stung, for around thirty minutes. However, if the pain won’t go away, it is recommended that you go and see a doctor.
Catfish, in general, have three spines that are able to puncture your skin. They have two lateral spines and a dorsal one. And when we say that they can puncture your skin, we mean that they can reach very deep if you are not paying attention.
There has been one case of death caused by the spines of a catfish. After managing to hunt down a catfish, two brothers started to play catch with it. One of the two, as he was catching the fish, brought his arms closer to his chest in order to have a safer grip on it, and then one of the spines punctured his chest, and then his heart, killing him on the spot.
If handled with care, as in using your fishing gloves, the spines won’t touch your skin and, therefore, do you no harm. When it comes to the Bullhead Catfish, it is unlikely that its spines will kill you – however, they can leave you in pain for several days.
If stung, you must clean the wound so that it doesn’t get infected. After that, all you have to do is analyze the stung area as the days pass – if the area begins to swell and if the pain continues, you should seek medical care.
Barracudas come with pointy, sharp teeth and are able to jump over your boat when you are not paying attention. This type of fish is often used by anglers, or other types of people that have a boat, to entertain the ones that accompany them.
This is because, once a lure is set above the water or even close to the surface, you will most likely see a barracuda emerging from the water as they bite onto the lure with fast speed and extreme ferocity, after which they go into a vertical leap and back into the water.
You won’t probably use your highest quality fishing lures on this fish, because some fishers out there don’t even bother removing them if the Barracuda has a good grip on the lure. However, if you still want to extract it, you should be using some pliers in order to avoid being injured.
If you’ve caught one in your fishing net and want to unhook it, it’s best that you leave some larger fish in the net before you approach the barracuda. It is also recommended that you leave the net partially submerged as the fish can start struggling violently when removed out of the water.
Also, a very important thing for you to remember is to treat the fish with TLC. You can do so when they get closer to the boat, as it will be the place where they will be doing one final jump out of the water. If you catch a smaller one, you can just grab it from behind its head – but you should still wear gloves and be very careful.
One Alligator Gar can reach weights of over 200 pounds – and the fact that its head is shaped like an alligator’s one will make you wonder if you really want to catch this one.
There have been reports of people that have been attacked by this fish, especially in Louisiana, in Lake Pontchartrain. They are known to send aggressive bites toward the ones that disturb them – of course, in self-defense.
Handling an Alligator Gar can be quite difficult, as there are some necessary steps you have to follow to ensure your safety. First of all, you will have to use a stout tackle on a fish like this, mainly because of the needle-like teeth it comes equipped with. As it is quite a large fish, it is advised that you never try landing one of them.
Some of them can get quite jumpy, so to say, and will start struggling, using all the power they have stored in them.
We mentioned that they have aggressive bites, so you should gill gaff them so that you can control their head properly and avoid being bitten.