Your Negligence. My Emergency?
Originally Published the Week of March 12, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications
Over the last two months of being on the road and talking to hundreds of fishermen at these fishing and hunting shows, there’s a lot of story-talking that goes on. I mean, that’s part of the fun of fishing, hunting and the outdoors, right? Talking smack. Telling tales. Mine-is-bigger-than-yours. It’s a guy thing.
And it’s not all about fish, either. Ever since we were kids, we showed off skinned knees and cut fingers; missing front teeth; and plaster-casted arms. We wore them like badges of honor.
Mom might have hated it, but ripped blue-jeans weren’t a fashion statement. It meant you played hardball with sticks and rocks not Barbie and Ken dolls.
Nothing against girls who played with dolls, but there was something about girls who could lace ‘em up and slide into homebase or didn’t mind a good game of football in the mud.
And so it is with fishermen. You can’t take the kid out’ve the man. Like Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw and Roy Scheider in the “Jaws” movie showing off their scars.
“This scar is from when I tried to pull a hook barehanded out’ve a wahoo mouth!”
“Well see this scar? It’s the operation from a tendon they had to repair when I was barefooted and tripped on an anchor chain reaching for a beer!”
“That is nothing. Here is where a gaff went through my hand, when I tried to do a trick!”
There’s that joke about why women live longer than men. Yes, we remain little boys deep inside.
Yea, “poop happens” as the saying goes. And a lot of it is our own fault and could be avoided.
Usually, most of us are pretty careful. But, fishing is a sport inherently rife with sharp things; slippery things; pointy things and simply an unforgiving Mother Nature.
There’s things I always carry with me on my Baja fishing trips. There’s the obvious things geared towards prevention. Like a good hat. A windbreaker. High-end sunscreen. Sunglasses. Or water (Duh!).
These are the things that even the most veteran anglers sometimes forget but missing any one of them can really crimp your day. Or a vacation.
But what about other things?
Use common sense. For some individuals that’s asking a lot. You should know if you can fix it yourself or you need to run to the hospital. Nothing I say here is a substitute for real medical opinions and knowledge, especially in a true emergency.
I once had several very well-respected surgeons fishing with me as part of a group. One of their buddies who was an attorney cut his finger on a lure.
It was bloody, but not serious. It was funny listening to them “go into conference” about the best procedure to fix the finger. Blah blah blah blah blah. Three surgeons, mind you.
It took so long the attorney fisherman looked at me and rolled his eyes then started making jokes about “malpractice lawsuits.”
I pulled the attorney away from the group. Splashed water on the cut. Told him to hold it high and apply some pressure. Pulled a band aid outta my tackle box and slapped it on. Back to fishing for me and the attorney.
Silence from the “over-thinking” surgeons. The doctors mouths dropped then they started laughing.
But seriously, even small cuts or punctures can be critical. Not because of the wound itself, but because of infection. Especially, in Mexico, that can be an issue. You don’t want thing going septic on you.
So, clean the wound as well as you can. Water, even clean saltwater is good.
I always bring some mouthwash with me. One of those little travel sizes works. It has alcohol. (It’s also good to chase away onion breath from the lunch burritos).
Splash some on. Beer or other alcohol works in a pinch as well.
I always have some assorted band aids. Keeping the wound clean and covered is essential. Keeping it dry is important too. So, I bring some first-aid tape to wrap around the bandage. I usually have some kids balloons as well to roll over a finger. We once used a condom (whatever works!) and then taped that on.
My tackle box also includes something antiseptic like Neosporin or similar that helps healing and fights infection. I also carry super glue. It stings a bit, but it can help seal a cut really nicely almost like brushing on some new skin.
If gets a puncture from a fin, tooth or spine, especially something toxic like a scorpion fish, have a bucket handy or plastic tupperware. Clean the wound and as well as possible. Immerse the body part in the bucket. Obviously, pull out the barb or fin.
An old trick we used when I worked on boats commercially is to add some bleach to the water, but also some meat tenderizer. The bleach helps cleanse.
Meat tenderizer breaks down proteins and helps draw out the venom. Works good on insect bites as well, if you make a paste out’ve it and apply to the skin.
Also from the galley…if someone gets a mild burn, honey on the affected area then covered up works like a charm!
For jellyfish stings, obviously get the jellyfish of you. Scrape with an edge like a credit card or even the edge of a knife or shaving razor.
Rinse in salt, not fresh, water. A paste of baking soda and SALT water works as does white wine vinegar that can be diluted with salt water. Ice can help swelling.
Get back to fishing, but once back to shore, don’t ignore the wound. Clean and dress it again. And keep it clean so it doesn’t get infected. Get to a doctor if you need to. Or it gets worse.
That’s my story!
Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004. Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico www.tailhunter-international.com. They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront. If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: email@example.com
Or drop by the restaurant to say hi. It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!
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