Stabbed in the leg by a sting-ray!!! Ever wondered what to do next?
Well I found out first hand last Saturday when it actually happened to ME.
Let me tell you the story… Last Saturday while gathering bait on a beach near Townsville I caught a 50cm bull-ray and about 6 mullet in the cast net. While I was jogging back to the bait-bucket about 30 metres away, the net caught on a mangrove root, swung round and bumped me in the leg. Unfortunately the ray in the net was pointing in the wrong direction and the barb slammed right into the bone with a resounding clunk just below my right knee. F&%$!!! I knew straight away what had happened. Luckily it didn’t snap off and came straight back out. If it had hit the muscle it would have penetrated much deeper so I was lucky in one respect. The pain was very real, and hard to describe. I was actually quite surprised at how painful it was, a pounding throb up the whole leg virtually immediately. Very different to the times I have been done by a box jelly which is more like a sizzling burn. According to Dr Google the venom on the barb is protein based and best treated with hot water (good old Dr. Google) as the protein is broken down by heat. Without even the option of a thermos of hot coffee on board, I had to get a bit inventive.
The tell tale water is quite hot after a period of high revs and I must say the hot water relieved the pain substantially – although the tell tale cools quickly unless you keep the revs up (which made it all the more interesting). The first 30 minutes was by far the worse and it slowly subsided from there, greatly assisted by the hot tell tale water (the hotter the better) so it was a case of: get her up on the plane, stop, catch, pour, plane, stop, catch, pour etc. for 20 minutes or so). At first I thought I was going to have to head home, but after a few applications of hot water I was able to stop for a fish and catch a little rat, and my son Jordy lost another good one. In the end the pain over rode the fishing so I decided to head home and rest the leg.
For 30 odd years I have walked countless sand bars catching bait and have literally walked through and past thousands of rays without incident – the one that gets me was my own fault in the cast net. Just goes to show you are never to old or experienced to occasionally let your guard down and I hope the above experience and info could save you the same fate. Remarkably it healed virtually overnight and no more harm done to me or the ray! If you have a sting-ray stabbing story of your own, please feel free to share it below. Unless of course you got stabbed and it didn’t hurt a bit – coz that will make me sound like a big sook.