Fishing guide, Capt. Billie Kocian, sportfishingtexas.com, advises anglers to carry a spray bottle filled with a mixture of bleach and water as part of their gear when they head out to fish this summer, especially if you plan to wade fish. The bleach/water mixture is to neutralize Vibrio bacteria that you may come in contact with.
Vibrio are bacteria that occur naturally in marine waters worldwide. They are not commonly found in the winter when water temperatures are low, but may be common in the summer and early fall when water temperatures are warm.
“They (Vibrio bacteria) have always been there,” says Kocian, “but it seems like more people are getting it now than they have before.”
Anglers with any kind of health issues, such as sugar diabetes, need to be especially careful when out fishing along the coast. And, you don’t even have to be in the water to come in contact with the bacteria.
“If you have a bruise on your arm, it can seep through the bruise,” continues Kocian. “You can get it in your nose. You can get it through a little bitty cut. The hook pokes you and the fish has it on it, you are going to get it.”
She relates a recent episode when a guide contracted a Vibrio infection through a hook penetration in the skin of his arm. “His arm swelled. If you catch it in time, it takes about three weeks on antibiotics to heal. If you don’t catch it in time you are going to be in a lot of trouble, quick. You will know in less than 24 hours if you have it; proceed to the emergency room.” The guide is still on antibiotics. “People tend to just brush it off as something that’s not going to happen to them.”
Her recommendation to avoid a Vibrio problem is to have available a small spray bottle filled with a mixture of bleach and water. “If you get poked, get cut, or whatever the case may be, spray it. Hands, your feet, or whatever, spray.” She mixes five caps of bleach to a spray bottle of water.