Sunday Classic / The Bite Of The Venomous Brown Trout Or, Stopping Fishfinger

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Shark Week  Photo by Louis Cahill

Shark Week Photo by Louis Cahill

We think of trout as pure.

Perfect creatures born of virgin waters. Incapable of anything unclean. So, I wasn’t especially concerned the other day when a nice twenty-one inch male brown, from the Delaware, bit the ever living shit out of me.

_DSC4340I knew I was likely to get a piece of those gnarly teeth when I stuck my thumb in his mouth, but the fish was bleeding a little from the hook and I needed to pour a little Coke down him to stop it. (Yes, it works. Read more HERE) This fish surprised me though. He clamped down with a vengeance. I applied alcohol generously, internally of course, and forgot about it.

The truth is that fish, even pure wild trout, carry lots of things that are not so nice. Bacteria, parasites, man made pollutants. Many of them can cause the malady known as fishfinger. Known well by Alaska guides, fishfinger is the infection that sets in after an open wound is exposed to fish bacteria. It’s often a result of mishandling a knife while cleaning fish. It’s nasty stuff. Very unpleasant.

So, I wasn’t exactly surprised when I woke up in the middle of the night with my thumb bright red and throbbing. When I pressed it against my forefinger, blood spurted from the wound. I knew I had to do something fast or the next days fishing would be torture.

18344Fortunately, ever since my life-threatening brush with MRSA, (read about that HERE) I carry Hibiclens with me when I travel. Hibiclens is an over-the-counter version of the stuff surgeons use to scrub up for surgery. It’s a very strong antibacterial scrub that’s amazingly effective. I poured some in the palm of my hand and soaked the infected thumb in it for about five minutes. After rinsing with water, I applied a bandaid and went back to bed.

In the morning I woke to find my raging case of fishfinger gone and my thumb pain free. It was an immediate relief of a condition that could easily go on for a week. I handled line the next day without a care. This might pass for simple first aid but it’s well worth stocking a small bottle of Hibiclens in your fishing kit.

You never know when fishfinger will strike!

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / The Bite Of The Venomous Brown Trout Or, Stopping Fishfinger

  1. Great reminder.

    I’m more likely to suffer PikeFinger, or worse, MuskyFinger, but keeping something on board to clean it out is important.

    …also works when we get stabbed with a hook that hasn’r been anyplace clean in days, maybe months…

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