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Labor Day 2013 Dive report LION FISH STING

Naclh2oDaveNaclh2oDave Posts: 24 Greenhorn
We got a bit of a late start on Monday with the weather rolling thru and all. But we got out and dove with no complications. By the time that we fueled the boat and launched the rain was over and never once got rained on the whole day, despite water spouts in the bay. The radar showed the storms coming thru but they all showed them inshore, so we left the hill and had a good day offshore.

We had 4 divers, planned on 3 dives a piece with it being a late start. Otherwise we would plan on 4 dives a piece. I misplaced my GoPro so no dive or boat footage on this day. The theme for the day was Lionfish, but we got some meat for the cooler too. We stayed pretty close on the first dive and dropped the first two divers, the current proved too strong and that dive was aborted, erring on the side of caution. So further out we went. The further south we headed, the calmer it got. Finally ending up on average about 20 miles out we started our routine of diving 2 divers up 2 divers down.

On my second dive I was hit by a lion fish while trying to manage them and collecting them on my polespear, on my left hand, middle finger middle knuckle. My best description of this is hitting yourself full swing with a molten red hot hammer. And as quick and bad as the pain hit at depth, it just got worse once I got topside. Once there I tried all the usual tricks, I held it over my head, I even PEED ON IT, I put it in my wetsuit to find some heat, I held it in the sun, I put it in the water coming from the boat motor. NONE of this helped until I unscrewed the hose bib connector from the Yamaha 225 and got to the HOT water. Now, by hot I mean I could not hold my hand in the water for more than about 5 seconds.....BUT IT WORKED. I would cup my hand and hold the hot water in it to ease the pain. The pain was bad, and it traveled from my middle knuckle down to my hand and made my whole hand ache. But the hot water from the hose connection worked very well. By the time my surface interval was over and I spent several minutes soaking my hand in the hot water the pain was gone and I was ready to go again.

Just for a day of lion fish Killing I had come up with a few ideas, one of them was a lion fish collection bag. I have seen the bags for sale at the local dive shops and they def. seemed that the holes on the bottom were going to be too small to allow enough water to flow thru while swimming, so I came up with an idea to (1) beat the price the local shops were charging and (2) overcome the problem that I could foresee with the lack of water flow thru the bags currently being marketed. My idea was to use the existing concept of a lobster bag that has the one way trap door to stuff the lion fish or lobster in with a bottom zipper but to beef up the protection factor with an inexpensive liner. I found that you can get the old military "waterproof" sleeping bag bags, rubberized interior canvas exterior, online for about $2.50 a piece. So ordered those here Amazon.com: Buying Choices: USGI Army Navy Waterproof Laundry Bag ("Dry Bag"), Set of 2 . Then I cut a hole in the bottom just big enough to fit over a lobster inn here Amazon.com: Lobster Inn Bag with Zipper Closure: Sports & Outdoors I attached the rubberized bag over the lobster inn with a piece of ruber tubing that I had lying around.

With this setup there is plenty of water flow, a bottom zipper to allow for easy dumping into the cooler and no escape for any wiley creatures that are stuffed into it.

Today the pain in my hand would best be described as the day after hitting yourself with a molten red hot hammer. So now I will be searching for a new pair of puncture resistant gloves, I am thinking leather.

The tally for the day was 5 trigger, 2 scamp, 1 gag, 19 lion fish (one of which must be some kind of record) and a very sore hand. But there were some lessons learned and some knowledge passed.

Pictures and rest of the story here.....http://www.gulfcoastfishingconnection.com/forums/forum84/thread20710.html

I could not get the pictures to load on this forum.


  • Naclh2oDaveNaclh2oDave Posts: 24 Greenhorn
    The next part of this episode is that I think I may have also figured out a better way to cook these tasty little critters. And do not mistake this, these are tasty critters! On several occasions I have gone thru the whole process of cleaning, gutting and filleting these sometimes quite small fish. But I accidentally figured out that if you hose them with a good stream of water the scales come right off. So I figured that just like a blue gill fish fry if you knock off the heads, dig out the guts and of course cut off all of the spines these little critters should fry up nicely. Report to follow...
  • IntheslotIntheslot Posts: 342 Deckhand
    Yeah, I want to try them as sushi and see them everywhere.

    On the bags, how you prevent the outer protective bag from riding up exposing the lobster bag?

    I want to try this but usually tether the bag to my BC and it rubs on my leg. Maybe I could extend the tether to three feet and just drag that crap behind me????
  • RaksterRakster Posts: 49 Greenhorn
    That's all good info from getting the hot water from the outboard to scaling them with the hose. I'm going to try that next time on the small ones. Thanks for the report!
  • Naclh2oDaveNaclh2oDave Posts: 24 Greenhorn
    Intheslot wrote: »
    Yeah, I want to try them as sushi and see them everywhere.

    On the bags, how you prevent the outer protective bag from riding up exposing the lobster bag?

    I want to try this but usually tether the bag to my BC and it rubs on my leg. Maybe I could extend the tether to three feet and just drag that crap behind me????

    I think the rubberized bag could be attached to the Lobster bag pretty easily and securely with just some safety pins or the like. I also considered putting the rubberized bag inside the lobster bag but that would leave the possibility of spines poking through near the zipper.

    I guess the mods got in and took out the links to the Amazon equipment and prices. As well as another post that I made with the pictures link.

    With all of this being said, I went diving here again yesterday and got HIT AGAIN!! (Both hits have occurred while I had multiple fish on my single point pole spear.) This one was MUCH worse, I wonder if frequent hits make it more painful. I did swap to a leather glove but the spine went through it like BUTTER. Do not rely on leather. After I came up from depth (125) the pain got exponentially worse and I had to give up diving for the day, also made a trip to the ER for xrays and antibiotics last night because I was so afraid of something being broken off in my thumb.

    For the water this time we unhooked the hot water hose bib from the motor side and filled a bucket to soak my hand in. This allowed for the run back in without me sitting in the back soaking right from the motor. I think I got second degree burns from the water but that was still better that the pain from the sting, which I will unabashedly admit was BY FAR the worst pain that I have ever felt and it lasted for 4 hours or more it is still swollen and I have been up since 2 am icing it down. Per the ER's instruction to help deal with the swelling.
  • spearallday1spearallday1 Posts: 10 Greenhorn
    sorry to hear about the sting but... keep killing those reef killers!!! :machinegun
  • PhlypperPhlypper Posts: 79 Deckhand
    I followed your link, and saw the impressive pictures.

    I also read on a subsequent trip, you got popped again by a lionfish, and it was worse.

    Please make sure you tell your doctor, and ask for a prescription and usage instructions for an epi-Pen, along with carrying some benadryl. An anaphylactic reaction could ruin a trip.
  • captrandycaptrandy Posts: 312 Deckhand
    A lot of good info on this thread. Thanks for posting and sacrificing your body for the good of the reef! I have collected a few lately in our 60-85ft dives. I bought a pair of Seas Scissors and made a lanyard and keep them in my BC pocket. I then shoot the bigger ones (12" and up) and keep them on my spearshaft and drive it into the sand or in the cracks of a ledge to make a holder for the fish. I grab the tail and start snipping all fins off. Then I string them up like any other fish. I takes about 2 minutes per fish so at 125' it would eat up too much precious bottom time. Our drops are usually 45 minutes with 36 mix so I can afford a few extra minutes to trim them up.
    Bad Fish Must Die!!
  • Naclh2oDaveNaclh2oDave Posts: 24 Greenhorn
    It has been about 3 weeks since my lion fish sting. The swelling went away about a week ago but the pain is still in my thumb bone from my first knuckle down to my wrist feels like I closed it in a car door, I think the bone must have been punctured. Also my had has been peeling all over my knuckles and between my fingers.

    If you are going after them keep an antihistamine onboard like Phlypper suggested and I would suggest some good pain killers but be aware that you might consider not diving anymore after you take any kind of meds, consult your Dr.
  • FOWLER267FOWLER267 Posts: 10 Greenhorn
    Ive' never handled a lionfish but I had a plan for making a Lobster Inn somewhat compatable. I was going to get corrugated plastic like what election signs are made from and line the inside of the LI with it and if possible rivit a piece across the trapdoor to keep any lionfish from squezing thru.

    I'm not sure if you would need a piece to cover the bottom of the LI as it might hang far enough away from you that you wouldnt' get stung from that direction.

    I havent' tried this idea so I dont' know if the corrugated plastic floats or not? That might cause problems so some other sort of plastic might need to be used. They make some sort of roll up cutting board type of plastic sheeting that is pretty cut resistent and that would be my second choice for a puncture resistent plastic.
  • crackedconchcrackedconch Posts: 381 Deckhand
    I don't know if it would help with a lionfish sting, but when I was growing up living in Key West we always kept meat tenderizer on board for jellyfish stings. It doesn't work quickly, but it does work for drawing out the poison. Add a little water to some in your hand and make a paste, then rub it on. Just my .02
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things!!

    Pioneer 197 Sportfish
    Suzuki DF150
  • Reel4ReelReel4Reel Posts: 439 Deckhand
    I got stung by one in a fish tank once. it was only about four inches long and I got hit in the index finger. it numbed my entire arm (I couldn't move it and only felt the pain) and it traveled up to my chest. it really felt like a truck was parked on my arm. it took about one day to not feel pain and about another week until my strength was back totally in that arm.
  • nbseafrognbseafrog Posts: 521 Officer
    Lionfish, jellyfish/man-o-war, catfish, etc stings can all be treated the same. The poison is a protein based toxin, which is why meat tenderizer helps. By far, the fastest way to relieve the pain is submerging your hand in water above 112*. You probably shower in 120* water, so it's not that hot. Keep refreshing the hot water as it cools. You know it's cooled because that throbbing will return. I've never heard that the pain gets worse with each successive sting. I suspect the 2nd sting hit you in a more sensitive area, hit the bone or a tendon and/or delivered more toxin.

    Good job ridding the reefs of these tasty little monsters. Hope those meals help to ease the pain.
    Catch 'em up!

  • LunchmeatLunchmeat Posts: 51 Deckhand
    I feel your pain, literally. I got stung deep in my knee joint after kneeling on a fin I had already cut off, it went in about 1 1/2 inches and was in for about 5 seconds. 9 hours of excruciating pain from my groin to my foot. I couldn't walk on it for 3 days. The bright side is i got 350 bucks from AFLAC and it did taste good in the ceviche I made.
  • planmanplanman Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    Google, Frapper or ZooKeeper for tried and true lion fish bags. We use them both and have had great success in catch tournaments. Inevitably someone will get hit. Hot water is the best treatment, be careful not to overdo it and burn yourself.
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