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Craziest Dive of the Year
shoupart - 3/11/2008 1:30 PM
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Category: Personal
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Craziest Dive of the YearI dunno why they say that about the lobsters going deep. Maybe they are. I was just puttering around in the shallows and came across a big 6lb. monster, and spent a couple minutes fighting him out. Right after I caught that lobster, a lot of fish had been congregating around me, but the weirdest one was something I hadn`t seen before but looked prehistoric. From pictures in fish ID guides, I recognized it as a ratfish. Like a moron, I decided to grab it. My reasoning? It was rare and unusual and I wanted to show my buddies, neither of whom was around. Unfortunately, the ratfish is somewhat venemous. I learned this firsthand (literally, through a puncture wound on my hand) and then I learned it secondhand through some online researching. But I could have told you it was poisonous as soon as it jabbed me. The pain was much stronger than I would have expected; it was like when you`re hit by the tiny stinger of a bee and it hurts way out of proportion to its size. With my hand throbbing and that monster lobster safely in the bag, I decided not to take any chances and begin heading back to shore. My buddy was long gone, and I didn`t want to have the poisonous reaction alone while I was still underwater. Oddly, I began to feel somewhat groggy and out of it. While I was heading back, I thought I was just getting tired, but looking back, I was a little woozy beyond normal fatigue. Later I would read that the ratfish poison causes "decreased consciousness", whatever that means. I particularly noticed the effects when I came across a big halibut in the shallow and it took me a moment to realize what I was looking at. When I speared the halibut and it began bucking around, I had to really concentrate to keep it pinned down. After the second (or maybe third) struggle with marine life that day, I had the big fish bagged and continued on and exited shortly afterwards. I was reading up on the Ratfish later that evening and was semi-surprised to see that it WAS poisonous. I say I was only "semi-surprised" because my hand was really sore and swelling up a bit, so it was kinda self-evident that something was going on there beyond a normal wound. Here`s the craziest account of a ratfish poisoning that I found: A fisherman was accidentally stung on his right calf by the spine of a ratfish (Chimaera monstrosa). Adjacent to the wound was a swelling, with a bluish skin colour the first day. The fisherman experienced an immediate burning pain and during the following days developed numbness of the calf and the back of the thigh. He needed crutches for three weeks, and the symptoms lasted for nine weeks.