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Ouch! 7 Common Fishing Injuries

Most anglers don't think of fishing as a dangerous sport. They're wrong.

Here are some of the most cringe-worthy fishing injuries we've seen, from common occurrences to horror stories that will make your jaw hit the floor.


1. Hooking yourself:

Whether you impale your finger while searching through your tackle box for your sharpest hook (hint: if the hook is in your finger, it's sharp enough for the fish), or impale your leg or arm with a cast gone awry, hooking yourself is never any fun. Fishhook related wounds are some of the most common fishing injuries, but as anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of one will tell you, that doesn't make them any less cringe worthy.

2. Fishhook in the eye:

Think hooking your hand or leg is bad? Take a look at this picture and a punctured finger will seem like no more than a modest scratch. As far as fishhook related injuries are concerned, a hook in the eye is the kind of thing that keeps anglers up at night. Wear sunglasses or safety goggles to protect yourself and save your vision.

3. Fish bites:

Be careful about handling a still-live fish right after a catch. Even out of the water and exhausted from fighting your hook and reel, some fish can be right little monsters that will fight you right until the end, and that can result in some nasty and bloody bites if you let your hands travel close enough to their mouths.

4. Infections:

Fish bites and hook injuries are no fun from the start, but sometimes, the immediate pain and bleeding from a wound can be the least of an angler's problems. Dirty hooks and fish teeth are notorious breeding grounds for bacteria, and infected wounds can cause an array of issues for anglers, from bruising and swelling to nasty skin rashes and a condition known in some areas as "fish handler's disease." All the more reason to be careful of hooks and teeth while fishing, and to immediately disinfect any wounds you may suffer.

5. Vengeful fish:

Most fish, when they escape your hook, will simply swim quickly away from the scene. Some, however, will come back for revenge. In 2006, veteran fisherman Ian Card was speared through the chest by an 800 pound marlin. Miraculously, Card survived, somehow managing to extricate himself from the beast's razor-sharp, three-foot-long bill and swim to the surface with a fist-sized hole in his chest.

6. Slipping off the dock:

Fishing isn't often a sport that begets broken bones or concussions, but loose your footing on a dock, a slippery patch of rocks, or on the side of your boat and it's all too easy to come down at the wrong angle or to bang your head. While not as cringe-worthy as having a fish impaled through your chest, a slip and a rough fall can still ruin a perfectly good day of fishing.

7. Collateral damage:

Some anglers love to bring their dogs along for a fishing trip, but be aware that some of the worst and most common fishing-related injuries affect pets, not humans. Dogs, like fish, will be attracted to your lures and bait, and will often hook themselves while you aren't paying attention. The worst part is the dogs and other animals will struggle profusely in attempt to remove the hook, often driving it further into their paw or mouth and getting tangled in the fishing line in the process.


Got a particularly rousing fishing scar to share? Tell us about your worst fishing injury!


Featured photo via Evolution Anglers

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Ouch! 7 Common Fishing Injuries