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>> Sculpin stings [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:11 am
spicytuna


Posts: 665
Location: Newport Beach

Got stuck with three dorsal spines on my thumb last night. I was delirious with pain for two hours before I was able to denature the toxins by soaking my hand in hot water. I'm my opinion it's way more unpleasant than your average prick by a rockfish. I must be lucky as the swelling subsided overnight but my thumb is still numb. Anyone else have any sculpin horror stories?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:28 am
Tifoso


Posts: 106
Location: norCal (central valley)

We don't get those up here (NorCal), right?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 6:40 pm
tackleholic


Posts: 798

Yeah I got one, I was out on a local LA 1/2 day trip..sculpin were biting good...I was unhooking one with pliers. Thing flopped just the right way and got me good on the hand as well. So the deckhand says best thing to do is soak it in hot water right away as the heat breaks down the toxins. Believe me it'll save your hand from going ballistic. Go into the galley and the cook obliges and gives me a cup of hot coffee on the house. I stick my hand in it...the heat was pretty painful. The cook says...the hotter the better. Well, it didn't work. My hand starts blowing up like a balloon...intense pain and swelling! So the other deckhand says..you need to pee on it..it'll help detoxify the sting. So I go running into the bathroom, the pain is so bad I'll try anything at this point...and you know...give her a whiz. Wash my hand, come out and they're like, "did it work?". I'm like...uh, I don't think so. So then the cook comes out with another cup of hot coffee and says, "did you hold your hand above your head while dipping it in?" I'm reply, "uh..no"
So then he gives me the coffee and I somehow stick my hand above my head, in the scalding coffee AGAIN..OUCH! So then, the cook says, "now stand on one leg!" I turn around and give him a dirty look and the whole crew bursts out laughing!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:29 pm
bigunindaboat


Posts: 2758

Tifoso wrote:
We don't get those up here (NorCal), right?


Usually not, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a straggler as far north as Monterey.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:38 pm
spicytuna


Posts: 665
Location: Newport Beach

bigunindaboat wrote:
Tifoso wrote:
We don't get those up here (NorCal), right?


Usually not, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a straggler as far north as Monterey.


Yeah, you can catch them up in NorCal if you're unlucky enough, haha. I've caught them before at Point Sur.

I got stuck the same way as you, tackleholic. How long did it take for the symptoms to go away completely? I gripped the hook with my pliers and torqued it to release the fish. I thought it was three but now I realize that I got four puncture wounds behind my thumbnail oozing blood. I was on a pier though and it was an hour before I could muster the resolve to pack up and leave. I drove straight to Jack in the Box and did the hot water treatment. I wonder how I'd be feeling if I just left it alone.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:23 am
makairaa


Posts: 612

Unfortunately the toxin reacts similarly to bee stings. Some people are very allergic, others not at all. I was fishing on a boat at catalina when a guy swung one over. It hit the guy behind him in the knee. Spines went right through his jeans. It swelled so badly they cut the jean leg off for fear it would cut off his circulation to the leg. I also have a friend who spear fishes for them. Just puts them on a fish clip attatched to his board shorts. Lets them just hit him in the leg the whole time. Just gets a couple of red dots where the spines stuck. Unfortunately there is no way to tell how allergic you are without getting stuck.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:15 pm
Tifoso


Posts: 106
Location: norCal (central valley)

Thanks for the replies guys! Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:29 pm
Ken Jones


Posts: 9447
Location: California

Hot water (not scalding) is usually about the best remedy. Scorpionfish (miscalled sculpin in SoCal) are very common in some areas and wintertime is the best time at some piers. Uncommon north of Point Conception —

California Scorpionfish

Species: Scorpaena guttata (Girard, 1854); from the Greek word scorpaena (scorpion, referring to the poison spines), and the Latin word guttata (a form of small drops or spotting).

Alternate Names: Commonly called sculpin although also called scorpionfish, scorpion, little poker, rattlesnake and scorpene. Early records show stingfish and spinefish as favorite appellations. In Mexico they’re called escorpión Californiano.

Identification: Typical rockfish shape, heavy-bodied and with strong head and fin spines. Their coloring is red (deeper water) to brown (more shallow water) with dark spotting over the body and fins. Fin spines are venomous and can cause a very painful, although not fatal, wound.

Size: To 17 inches, although most caught from piers are less than 12 inches long. The California record was for a fish weighing 3 lb 0 oz. It was caught at the Silver Strand Beach in 1997.

Range: Uncle Sam Bank, central Baja California, and the Gulf of California, to Santa Cruz. They are uncommon north of Point Conception.

Habitat: Most abundant in shallow rocky environments such as rocky reefs, sewer pipes and wrecks; frequently found in caves and crevices. Some are also found on sand. Found from fairly shallow water down to 620 feet. May travel over 200 miles in annual spawning migrations (spring and early summer) that see them form large spawning aggregations on or near the bottom (at a variety of depths).

Piers: Although scorpionfish are most common around rocky areas and reef areas, I have seen them caught at almost every oceanfront pier in southern California. Best bets: Balboa Pier, Newport Pier, Redondo Beach Pier, Redondo Sportfishing Pier, Hermosa Beach Pier, Santa Monica Pier, Green Pleasure Pier (Avalon) and the Cabrillo Mole (Avalon).

Shoreline: Occasionally caught by shore anglers fishing rocky areas in southern California.

Boats: A common catch by boaters in southern California, especially those fishing at Catalina and the Horseshoe kelp area of Los Angeles.

Bait and Tackle: Scorpions are carnivorous, ambush predators that are primarily nocturnal, feeding at night. Their main diet consists of small crabs, octopus, shrimp, and small fish. A high/low leader with size 4 hooks baited with squid or shrimp seems to work best although they also really like ghost shrimp. Still, I’ve caught them on cut anchovies, strips of mackerel, pile worms, and one on a live queenfish that seemed almost as large as the scorpionfish; they’re not too discriminating as far as food.

Food Value: An excellent eating, mild-flavored fish that is best fried (although they are a favorite fish for sushi and command top prices when fresh fish are available).

Comments: Handle with extreme care. California scorpionfish are the most venomous member of the family found in California. If handled in a careless manner and a puncture wound does occur there will usually be pain (sometimes intense) and perhaps swelling that should subside after a few hours. If possible, soak the affected area in hot water as soon as practical (since the hot water alters the toxin and makes it less harmful). Multiple punctures may require doctor's attention or even hospitalization. The worst story I ever heard of such multiple punctures concerned a middle-aged angler fishing from a boat near Catalina. This lady had caught upwards of a dozen scorpionfish that were dutifully deposited into her gunnysack. Unfortunately, many of the long spines were protruding from her bag when a heavy wave caused her to lose her footing and to fall, bottom-first, onto the bag. The result was butt-porcupine and a helicopter trip back to a hospital.

Although studies showed a decline in population before 1980, they seem to have increased and today have a healthy population.



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:14 am
Tifoso


Posts: 106
Location: norCal (central valley)

Thanks for the info, Ken. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:46 am
Fusion


Posts: 106

I would assume it's like a bee wasp or hornets. I'm not allergic. I live pretty rural. My wife got stung by. Yellow jacket and was in pain for two days. I was going to take her to the ER. The year before that, her cousin got stung n had to go to the ER. She fainted as soon as she was taken there. The Doc said she could have died. Her throat swelllwd
and couldn't breath. Becarfull
out there guys.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:54 pm
Fishmom1


Posts: 180
Location: Benicia, CA

Another kicker: your susceptbility to stings like this can change over time. I haven't been stung by a sculpin for many years, but I got a yellow jacket sting last year that left my shoulder looking like a baseball. This in spite of getting many bee and yellow jacket stings when I was younger with no bad result, and occasional catfish and sculpin stabs that also didn't bother me.

Apparently it isn't unusual for your sensitivity to allergins to increase with age, per our doctor.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:10 pm
tackleholic


Posts: 798

spicytuna wrote:
bigunindaboat wrote:
Tifoso wrote:
We don't get those up here (NorCal), right?


Usually not, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a straggler as far north as Monterey.


Yeah, you can catch them up in NorCal if you're unlucky enough, haha. I've caught them before at Point Sur.

I got stuck the same way as you, tackleholic. How long did it take for the symptoms to go away completely? I gripped the hook with my pliers and torqued it to release the fish. I thought it was three but now I realize that I got four puncture wounds behind my thumbnail oozing blood. I was on a pier though and it was an hour before I could muster the resolve to pack up and leave. I drove straight to Jack in the Box and did the hot water treatment. I wonder how I'd be feeling if I just left it alone.


Yeah, it shut me down from fishing the rest of the trip. It was a couple of hours until I got off the boat...couldn't really grip the steering wheel and the stickshift that well because my hand was so swollen and it was painful to bend my fingers. So i went to Carl's and got a bite and also doused it again while under the hot faucet. Then i ordered a drink and just got ice and put it in a plastic bag and applied it to deal with the pain and swelling. I hung out for about an hour doing this...back and forth between hot water in restroom and applying ice.

The pain subsided substantially a few hours later. The next day my hand was extremely sore...but not the excruciating pain the first few hours after the sting. The soreness lingered for a couple of weeks if i recall gradually diminishing. I got hit by the spines on the head i think...had 3 puncture marks as well.

A couple of years before i got stung...i was on a 6 day trip and we had all gotten our Mexican 3-day limits on tuna and a bunch of yellowtail so we hit some spots on the way back for reds and lings I think around Colonet. Anyways...I started to get a bunch of sculpin, good sized ones on these homemade slugs. Me and a couple of other guys wanted to keep a few sculpin besides the reds so we asked the deckie to tag them. The deckies not only tagged them but proceeded to cut every spine off of each sculpin...dorsal, pectoral, pelvic fins...every potential hazard before he put them on our stringers of rockfish. I thought to myself..."Wow, what great service..these long range deckies are a cut above!" But later, after seeing those deckies actually get down into the drained RSW to hand up fish onto the deck...i realized it was more for self preservation. The last thing they want to deal with is getting stung with a bunch of rattlesnake stringers while having to offload literally "tons" of fish out of an rsw and into carts. A sculpin sting would really screw things up for them...especially since they have to just turn around and go back out on another trip for 5-10 days.

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