April 7, 2015

How To Prevent Infection From Vibrio Vulnificus On Fishing Trips

You can let vibrio vulnificus ruin your summer fishing or you can fight back. This quick guide shows you how!

Fight Vibrio Vulnificus On Your Fishing Trips

It's something that strikes every summer. This undetectable bacteria floats freely in Louisiana's warm summer waters and can, at the very least, devour your flesh.

Known as the Terror of the Deep, this bacteria is responsible for deaths every year.

The scientific name for the bacteria in question is vibrio vulnificus. While its occurrences are rare, it tends to rear its ugly head during the summer months. It thrives in warm seawater and infects people when it makes contact with open sores or cuts.

double wadefishing speckled trout

You can see his waistline under the water. Also note the color. This is "trout green" water.

Be Prepared To Fight Infection

The best way to prevent an infection from vibrio vulnificus is to be prepared.

I carry a bleach/water mix in a spray bottle in case a catfish or live shrimp pokes me. I will spray the open wound since the spray serves as an excellent antiseptic and works better than alcohol.

Some people recommend 10 parts water for every 1 part bleach. I also carry plenty of bottled water to drain out the wound.

I think that a spray bottle with a bleach/water mix should be right there with your sunscreen and bug spray!

Take a Hot Bleach Bath

What if you love wade fishing? Well, you're not improving your chances of avoiding infection from vibrio vulnificus. I don't go wading very much these days, but if I do I'll take an extra measure.

After my fishing trip I take a bath in a hot tub with a little bit of bleach mixed in. Not a lot, just a couple capfuls. Don't go overboard with this.

I have heard of another effective antiseptic called Hibiclens. I've never used it but maybe I will carry it this summer.


Above all, I think the best advice is to go see a doctor if you experience any symptoms of a vibrio vulnificus infection.

These symptoms include:

  • soreness
  • swelling
  • red lines shooting from the infection site

Time is of the essence, so don't take any chances. After all, you wouldn't want to miss out on all that great summer fishing!

Hopedale Sunrise

You want to be in your boat, not the hospital bed, for this gorgeous summer sunrise!

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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  • I dealt with this last year. 11 days in a hospital, 3 months of follow ups wound care, hyperbaric treatments and antibiotics. Even after I was done with the meds I couldn’t fish for another month due to increased sun sensitivity. But I was lucky as nothing had to be amputated.

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