Catching dangerous fish can be an intentional feat for thrill seekers, but any angler could find an undesirable species at the end of their line. Dangerous fish to catch can be large, have sharp teeth, or have poisonous protrusions. Learning about dangerous species of fish will help you understand how best to handle them to ensure a safe and harmless release – for both anglers and fish. This article covers tips for dealing with dangerous fish and some common species.
Catch dangerous fish
Sharks (obviously!). Most sharks are only caught if an angler intentionally fishes for them and has experience handling them. If you do connect with one by chance, enjoy the fight and catch a glimpse, but don’t try to grab them or put your hands near their mouth.
Catfish. Certain freshwater and saltwater catfish species have venom glands and sharp spines on their dorsal and pectoral fins that can pierce your skin and cause pain and infection.
Alligator Gar. Their appearance is that of half fish, half alligator, characterized by their elongated mouth and rows of sharp teeth. The alligator gar can grow up to 200 pounds. and are known to spit hooks due to their hard mouth.
Muskies and pike. These similar fish are known to have a fight. Muscle lungs and pikes have sharp teeth and sharp gill plates that should be avoided.
Barracuda. The lively and powerful barracudas have mouths full of sharp teeth and are known to jump out of the water. These fish are aggressive predators so use caution.
Lionfish. Lionfish are an invasive species with numerous long, poisonous spines. They are quite docile but should not be handled with bare hands.
Catching Dangerous Fish: Safety and Handling Tips
- Never put your hands near the mouth of a fish with sharp teeth or try to remove the hook with your hands.
- Do not try to pull large fish into a boat without a professional. They can often spin wildly on the deck and injure bystanders.
- Wear gloves and long sleeves when handling fish with sharp spines or teeth.
- Use a hair removal tool or long-handled pliers to remove the hooks. When in doubt, break the line.
- Keep a first aid kit on board for minor cuts.
When you renew or purchase a fishing license, the state website will provide a list of potentially dangerous fish in your area as they may have more specific tips and rules on how to fish. Don’t be afraid of the fish, just be prepared and have fun!