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  1. I absolutely love your articles, but as I was reading this I found myself wondering why you said that a catfish’s mouth is more dangerous then the spins in larger fish?

  2. My sister was wading in a small lake in Arnold CA last weekend when she suddenly felt a “bite” on her calf. Her husband had earlier claimed to have been being chased by fish in that location which she laughed off as some heatstroke induced paranoia. She saw a fish immediately after her “bite” and realized something was down there causing mischief. After a few minutes the bite began to hurt and she got out of the water. At that point she noticed she was bleeding at the “bite” site. To be clear, once examined it didn’t look like a bite at all. It was a 3 inch scratch/scrape.

    We’re all baffled. I’m wondering if she might have been scraped by a catfish and got finned. Is that even possible? At this point she has a rash near the scratch and it’s bugging her. Worth mentioning, this all happened in a small, man-made lake where others have complained of being harassed by some fish. These folks don’t fish and I don’t know if there are even catfish in that lake. But it sure isn’t a trout or perch wound.

    I’d be grateful for any feedback or suggestions.

    • I would think this may have been a catfish or similar. I am no pro fisherman but I do swim in a lot of inland lakes and have been bumped, scraped, or even “nibbled” by fish. I would think that either you got in the way of the fish and it swam past you at the inopportune time, or yes you scared it and it finned you. Regardless of the fish species, most have a territorial instinct and will protect its claimed area when threatened.

  3. I was removing a 2-3 pounder from my daughter’s fishing line in the keys when it squirmed and popped me through the glove I was wearing. To call this minor discomfort as you do above must mean I truly a wussy! It was in fire for about 3 hours and sore for a few days.

  4. My oldest brother was catching baby catfish, about two inches long, with his bare hands. He got finned by one in the palm of his hand which immediately began to sting and swell. After about one hour the swelling was so bad my father took him to the emergency room because he feared the flesh would rip open from the severe swelling. The doctors said it was a allergic reaction to the venom. Treated him with three different meds. To me venom being injected by a spine is a sting. You call it a myth or finning or whatever you like. To me it is a sting.

    • I totally agree with Joe Cook! My dad was a WWII paratrooper, whos favorite pasttime was fishing, and usually it was for catfish. He was raised in the country and he always warned us to be careful because catfish can give you a painful sting. I will continue to call it that and when I teach my granddaughter to fish she will be told the same thing! Saying that you were “finned” by a catfish might be accurate, but it just doesn’t sound right. Do you realize how long that saying has been around? I know, in my family alone, for more than a century. These people were trying to get some solid advice from their fishing idol.. and you gave it. But I don’t think you did yourself any favors by ridiculing their terminology. Especially with a saying that’s as old as the hills.

        • I agree with Chad on this! Only with the proper information can you teach your grandchildren the correct way to hsndke the fish if need be. Hes explsiningthe “myth” of being stung by their whiskets. Can you imagine someone grabbing the dorsel fin and getting cut by it in a grest attempt to avoid the whiskers? Call it a sting or whatever you like, but hes teaching you a valuable lesson.

          • I was just typing with “slime” on my hands and obviously mis-typed some words! Spellcheck didnt pick up on them either!

      • Use whatever nomenclature you like, but cats do not have stingers. Catfish venom is produced by the epidermis of the fin itself, their fin spines do not inject venom. Getting ‘stung’ by a catfish is akin saying you got ‘stung’ by a rosebush.

  5. I live cat fishing handled them all my life have never been “stung” maybe a little scrape here or there but nothing a band aid coundnt fix I completely agree with you

  6. I was fishing today and caught a small catfish (and a turtle on the same rig) and released the fish without injury…..it was the damn Sunny I caught later that “finned” me in the palm. The fish was about palm sized and I figured I could grab it around its body close to the head, but felt the barb go in. I’m relatively new to fishing…..should I grab all fish of this size behind the dorsal fin?

  7. personally I don’t see the big deal about calling it a sting. Its pretty close to the definition. As A) it has a sharp device that pierces the victim. B) it has at least according to what I have read, a substance that is defined as a venom. The only main difference I can see as the victim is sort of causing the sting by forcing itself onto the barb as apposed to a bee or scorpion etc which is actively stinging its victim. But other animals do the same thing such as sea urchins which you step on etc. thus causing the sting.

  8. My husband just dropped a small catfish on his foot, the fin went straight deep into his foot and broke off inside. He said it was the most painful thing he ever experienced. 3 days later it’s all infected. He’s been admitted to the hospital and scheduled for surgery tomorrow to try and get the barbel out. Freak accident what a mess, all from a little fish.

  9. Yes…Jellyfish sting.Catfish poke/scrape.Been catfishing for over 40 years.Everything Chad said is true…

  10. I must also add that I have seen some freak accidents regarding not only Catfish but Bass,and even Bluegill.Ya gotta use care when handling fish with sharp spines on them.Large fish I grab by the lip,..even Catfish.

  11. Informative, thanks!
    Only comment is that I don’t believe hydrogen peroxide has any antiseptic properties, it merely buggles and dislodges dirt and debris from a wound.

    • Agree. Hydrogen peroxide is bad for any kind of wound. They’ve found that it kills, damages good tissue and causes delayed wound healing among other issues. Just plain soap and water works best. I’ve been a nurse for 24+years. The rest of the article hits the mark. Although I did get tickled. Never knew folks were afraid of catfish. I have a fresh scrape on my forearm where a catfish finned me the other night. Not a big deal, lol.

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