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Old 07-16-2013, 12:40 PM
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Default Surf Safety

Hey all. Been lurking for the last few weeks as I am just getting started with saltwater flyfishing, but after seeing a few posts I thought I might post a couple of things about surf safety. I am sure most of you know this stuff already but if not, it is good info to know and certainly good for beginners.

Stingrays - I saw someone state that it is important to shuffle your feet when walking and this is very true. Almost all of the stingray envenomations I see are on the foot and ankle from stepping directly on top of the ray. The others are inevitably fishermen trying to dislodge a hook who get punctured in the hand. If you are hit, the toxin starts causing a tremendous pain response almost immediately. The most important thing to remember about the toxin is that it is heat labile so HOT WATER, as hot as you can stand, will almost immediately lessen the pain. I would say that almost all of these should be seen in the ED or urgent care environment by someone with experience as these can frequently become infected (think Vibrio) and need to be washed and sometimes treated with Abx.

Jellyfish - almost all of the jellyfish toxins endemic to us are denatured by acid. Vinegar or even coca cola can help tremendously. The barbs can be quite small and remain in the skin unless gently scraped off. If you see a "sail" out of the water associated with jelly, go ahead and get out of the water. This could be a Portugese man of war and their toxin is quite powerful and their tendrils can be extremely long.

Wave injuries - people often underestimate the power of a wave. I have seen almost every type of trauma from a wave injury that we typically associate with a major auto accident. These injuries are under reported and are amazingly common. You are at least ten times more likely to be injured by a wave than anything else in the surf.

Shark bites - amazingly rare. Most of the "shark bites" I see are really bluefish in the shallows. As long as you arent wading into the bait balls, you should be okay.

Well, I mainly typed this so people would know about the hot water treatment for stingrays and then I couldnt seem to stop. It can certainly save someone some pain if they are far from treatment.

Best of luck and good fishing!
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:26 PM
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Default Re: Surf Safety

Some great information that I wasn't aware of. Thanks for compiling.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: Surf Safety

Those are great tips. I've seen lots of rays and jellies in the surf lately, and we've had some really rough wave action at times.

Thanks for the information.

-VB
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Surf Safety

Where I fish there's great whites. They're too big to be in close but if you're a surfer that's a different story. They normally stay on the outside of the bars and for the most part they know the difference between a seal and a human. At least if you're not wearing a wet suit.

The grey seals will try to take fish away from you and they sometimes will do it aggressively, even coming up out of the water after a landed fish.
But even a big bull will back off pretty quick if you just scream like a girl and run

The waves are what you really need to keep in mind at all times. Never turn your back on the surf and always wear a wading belt.
Waves come in "sets" and often in sets of 7.
The water may seem fairly calm, but if you let down your guard, number 7 may take you out.
If you're fishing in a prime spot the rip current will then give you a free ride toward France

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Old 07-16-2013, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: Surf Safety

Maybe I should just stick with scuba diving. Much safer.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:42 PM
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Default Re: Surf Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by half fast View Post
Maybe I should just stick with scuba diving. Much safer.
Not when I'm around! When I was in Curaçao I hooked on of you guys with a Crazy Charlie! Ouch!
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Surf Safety

I had a ray brush up against my leg today while fishing. It was honestly a little creepy. I see a lot of dolphins which is cool. Some horseshoe crabs tend to get caught in the breakers and float by too. Does anyone know if rays are aggressive?I've will they whip you if you don't touch them and they are just swimming by?
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:34 AM
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Default Re: Surf Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by theboz View Post
Not when I'm around! When I was in Curaçao I hooked on of you guys with a Crazy Charlie! Ouch!
Just the thought of this is hilarious. I'd be apologetic to the guy if it was me that hooked him, but you've really got to laugh about that circumstance. I bet you thought you hooked a monster.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 95chevy View Post
I had a ray brush up against my leg today while fishing. It was honestly a little creepy. I see a lot of dolphins which is cool. Some horseshoe crabs tend to get caught in the breakers and float by too. Does anyone know if rays are aggressive?I've will they whip you if you don't touch them and they are just swimming by?
Would YOU attack someone 10x your size for no reason?
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: Surf Safety

One thing not mentioned that those new to surf fishing often overlook is to wear a wader belt with waders, particularly if you wear rubber waders that are not tight to the skin. If you happen to get knocked down by a wave, a belt can help keep some of the water out of your waders, which makes getting back to your feet much easier. Most times this is not a matter of life or death, but in some places it could be.

Rays are not usually aggressive. It's the ones that folks accidentally step on that usually cause the problems.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:34 PM
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Default Re: Surf Safety

This is one of the most fascinating threads I've read in years. Never 'warm salt' fished in my life. A real learning curve here. Fished the 'salt' up in Puget Sound close to 30 years ago, but if water conditions were rough (waves over 2 foot) you didn't step in over your knees. Even that shallow the weight/force of the water was amazing!

Comment above about waves in sets of seven was even true in what would be considered to be 'sheltered water.'
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