Regardless of how good you think you are handling stingrays, it's not a matter of if, but when, you will get stung. This is how to be prepared.
Alleviate Stingray Pain
I have some great tips for you, but let me tell you what happened to me first.
It never bothered me to grab stingrays by their nose and remove the hook from their mouths. That all came to a screaming halt one day in 2011 aboard a fishing charter.
A client lifted the stingray too far out of the water as I was reaching down to grab him. It was too late when I realized my error, the barb was already in my hand!
Though it came out easily, the damage was done.
My life had not been an easy one and I thought I knew pain: breaking my ankle, arm and ribs.
I've been headbutt, dropkicked in the face, and whacked with a baseball bat. Black eyes? That's a walk in the park.
One time I crashed into a pine tree on a botched parachute landing.
But none of that had s#*t on the stingray. Geez, did it hurt!
Mikey was recently stung on his hand and had to suffer through much of the same pain I endured.
If you're not sure how bad it hurts I can tell you I would rather have anybody swing a Louisville slugger between my legs before I let another stingray get me!
He looks to be in rough shape, but he is doing much better since his hand is in a tub of hot water.
It is not common knowledge that hot water helps stop pain associated with stingray stings.
Hot water does this because it will dissolve the protein-based venom found in stingray barbs. Do not use cold water or ice packs! It could make the wound more painful. Instead, let the hot water open the wound, break down the venom and ooze out.
Knowledge Bomb Who carries hot water aboard a bay boat? Yeah, no one.
But you can use water circulated from your outboard.It's just as hot as any water and will help break that venom down.
Watch for Infection
During warm months vibrio vulnificus runs rampant. It's a flesh-eating disease that claims a few people every year.
Because of this, I carry a spray bottle of bleach to flush wounds. This will hold me over until I can properly clean the wound at home.
Don't be stupid.
Obviously you should go to the hospital if a sting is more than just a sting, especially if the barb is stuck in your flesh.
They are worse than your fishing hook and evolution didn't design them to be easily removed.
Go to the emergency room if there is any doubt in your mind of a serious infection. Live to fish another day.
Don't Catch Stingrays in the First Place
Avoid stingrays altogether by becoming more proficient with artificial lures instead of using live or dead bait.
Not because I catch more good fish and less trash fish, but because I am happy with how far I have traveled on my journey in inshore fishing.