5 Injuries Requiring a Fishing First Aid Kit

By Tom Keer

Oct 07, 2015

Most of us never need a fishing first aid kit, but when we do it’s usually for good reason.

Most of us never need a fishing first aid kit, but when we do it's usually for good reason. Normal ailments like sunburn, dehydration, nausea or sea sickness are relatively easy to overcome with aloe, water, and Dramamine. Still, accidents can happen, and here are five common accidents that require a fishing first aid kit.

  1. Fish Hook in the body. Let's hope that you are fishing with barbless hooks, because they're easy to extract. Place a loop of monofilament over the hook and steadily pull in reverse. Once removed, clean the wound with soap and water and coat with an antibiotic ointment. For barbed hooks, push the hook point through the skin to a point beyond the barb and cut the hook beyond the barb with wire cutters. Clean with soap and water and coat with antibiotic ointment. If the hook is too deep get professional medical treatment. Check your tetanus shot records.

  2. Fish Bites: With red jelly fish, rub sand on the affected area and rinse with vinegar or witch hazel. For catfish tines, treat as a puncture wound and clean with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment. For bites, you'll have to ID the fish as a shark bite is different from a smaller fish's skin tear. Stop the bleeding with either direct pressure or a tourniquet, clean the wound with soapy water, and treat with antibiotic ointment. For severe injuries, use your survival fishing gear and get medical assistance.

  3. Slipping: Dock, ramp, rocks, boats. Accidents caused by slippery ramps and pitching boats can be avoided with proper footwear. Cleated and studded boots provide traction on rocks while rubber soled boat shoes are good for ramps, docks and decks. If you slip and fall, identify the severity of the accident. Bone breaks need stabilization from a splint while a neck or back injury needs stabilization from a brace.

  4. Hypothermia from cold water: To treat hypothermia, restore warmth slowly by adding layers of clothing or blankets, which should be available if you’ve brought survival fishing gear. Get the person out of the elements and provide warm liquids to increase the body temperature. For severe cases call for emergency assistance.

  5. Fisherman's Elbow: Inflamed joints and stretched tendons are common side effects of Fisherman's Elbow. Rest, ice, and muscle massage help, as does stretching wrists, forearms and shoulders.

When going out fishing and boating always carry a fishing first aid kit with bandages, Band-Aids, sterile pads, pain relievers of your choice, disinfecting liquids, antibiotic creams, and forceps and wire cutters so you'll be equipped to handle most injuries. For more information check our page on basic fishing first aid kit.

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.