You throw a hook into the water, you sit and wait for a bite or you reel back in. How dangerous can fishing be? Though not considered a high-risk sport, fishing does pose a few potential dangers. Before your family heads to the water, keep these fishing safety tips in mind.
1. Get physically prepared.
You don’t necessarily need to be in top physical shape to catch a fish, but you do need to be able to navigate in and out of a boat or possibly across rocks to your favorite fishing spot. Since regular physical activity is essential for your family’s health, make sure you stick to a daily fitness routine leading up to fishing season. Consider visiting the local pool to brush up on your swimming strokes in the case you fall out of the boat or into the water from the shore.
2. Check your fishing gear.
Fishing lines get old and tangled, fishing poles get worn, and lures can break. Open up your tackle box and discard broken fishing tackle. Restring your pole if the line looks ragged and replace your reel or pole if showing signs of damage. The last thing you want to do is cast out and hook someone or yourself due to faulty fishing gear. If you are going out on a boat, do a boat safety check and make sure your life vests are in good condition.
3. Dress up for the occasion.
Sturdy, protective footwear is especially important when fishing. It can keep you from cutting your foot on obstacles in the water or on shore, keep your feet warm, and prevent slipping. Wear clothing according to the weather conditions, choosing attire that will keep you cool in the heat and warm in the cold. Wear sunscreen regardless of temperature and consider a hat that shades your ears and face. Be sure you and the kids don those life vests if you are on the water.
4. Pack a first aid kit.
While you are hoping for the big catch, you may fall and sustain a cut, get bit by insects, or get a hook in the hand. A first aid kit can come to the rescue for many injuries.
For scrapes and cuts, rinse the wound with clean water (this doesn’t mean pond water) and stop the bleeding by compressing with a clean cloth. Apply an antibiotic cream and cover with a bandage. Try to keep the area dry, changing bandage as needed.
For insect bites and stings, clean area with water, apply a cold compress if available, apply antibiotic cream, and take acetominophen or ibuprofen for pain. Be sure to remove ticks and stingers, if present, before treating. To avoid bites and stings, apply an insect repellent before you start fishing.
When it comes to fishing hooks, if the hook is embedded in the head or face, in a joint, or near an artery, seek medical help immediately. If the hook is embedded in the finger or elsewhere in the skin, clean area with soapy water. Tie a long piece of fishing line to the rounded part of the hook. Push the hook shank parallel with the skin and give the fishing line a firm, sharp yank. The hook should come right out of the entry point. Wash the area again and apply an antiobiotic ointment and bandage to keep it clean and dry.
Note: Be sure your family is current on your tetanus vaccinations.
5. Stay aware of your fellow fishers.
Keep distance between you and your fellow fishers to avoid hook or pole injuries when casting. Safety glasses are a good idea for kids to protect their eyes, especially as they hone their fishing skills. In addition, always know where your family members are and don’t let your kids fish alone. Employ the buddy system.