Fishing on Fraser Island in peak tailor season is a time to watch out for wayward hooks and sinkers. Picture: David Lems
Fishing on Fraser Island in peak tailor season is a time to watch out for wayward hooks and sinkers. Picture: David Lems

FISHY TALES: Scary discovery while casting a line

GANGED hooks in the fingers or even your face. Fish spikes that cause anything but a "happy moment''. A sliced hand from a filleting knife.

For all the enjoyable aspects of fishing, there's some nasty dangers to be aware of.

Most anglers who have fished shoulder-to-shoulder during the tailor season on Fraser Island will know what it's like to have ganged hooks whisking by your head.

Those connected hooks can also easily lodge in a finger or the web of your hand if mishandling a feisty tailor.

Then there's the blood that flows freely when jabbed by a slimy flathead spike. Or worse still, a trip to hospital if a Stinging Bream - ironically called a Happy Moment - injects a dose of pain no-one would like to experience.

Knives are always dangerous whether in a boat, used rock fishing or cleaning your catch. Blunt knives are often the most likely to cause a nasty gash.

But there's another less known serious injury threat, especially fishing in the surf or from the rocks at night.

That is a flying sinker which can become a mini rocket when flung back at you.

Reeling in a hard-fighting fish or being stuck on a snag are when this lead projective can do most damage.

Night fishing offers a range of potentially harmful challenges to tackle.
Night fishing offers a range of potentially harmful challenges to tackle.


Big sinkers are the most potent - as a cousin discovered one evening.

He was fishing for jew just metres away before suddenly going quiet.

He hadn't turned on his torch for some time to rebait his hook or check his rig.

Then the scary discovery was made.

He was lying unconscious at the water's edge.

The waves were lapping around his waist and his rod was floating in the shallows.

First attempts to wake him were unsuccessful.

After dragging him safely from the water, he slowly responded.

His first words were: "sinker, elbow, pain''.

After realising what had happened from the flying sinker, my cousin was taken to hospital for a check-up.

Thankfully, there was no serious damage other than a sore arm. But it could have been so much worse.

It turns out he was winding in a fish when the hook let go and the sinker whacked him in the end of his elbow. The sinker hit a sensitive nerve connected to his brain and he collapsed.

The same mishap could easily happen trying to pull back on a hook lodged on a stubborn rock. Always turn your back to the snag and walk away in a straight line rather than put extra bend pressure on your rod. The line should break cleanly.

While night fishing often yields the best catches, it also presents new challenges.

The moral of today's story is to keep a close eye on your fishing mates, especially after dark.

You never know what lurks beyond the first wave.

This article is part of the Queensland Times Fishy Tales series, a collection of stories about unusual or exceptional fishing adventures.