Lionfish are uncommonly beautiful, but the fact remains that these fish are considered an invasive species that have now all but taken over the coast of Florida. The lionfish invasion gathered a lot of steam in recent years thanks to author Lad Adkins casting a light on the true nature of these fish with venomous spines. More and more anglers are finding themselves with a lionfish on the line or the end of their spear, and when they do, it is important to know how to handle them safely and effectively.
It should be noted that the venomous spines on the lionfish are located on its spines in the dorsal fins. To be more precise, there are 18 total spines, and each one of them is as sharp as a hospital-quality hypodermic needle. These are all represented with one shorter spine on the edge of each invasive species’ pelvic fins and three more short spines located on the leading edge of the anal fin. In other words, they are everywhere, and they must be avoided at all costs.
The sting of a lionfish spine is likely not enough to cause death in the average person, but it does run the risk of infection, and in any case, it will cause a great deal of pain. The venom is not something to be trifled with. This can be achieved by properly handling lionfish.
First and foremost, a quality pair of puncture-proof fishing gloves should be worn at all times while handling the fish. It doesn’t matter how careful you are; a lionfish that suddenly decides to flail about can easily flip and flop one of its venomous spines into your skin. With the gloves on, you will not have this concern. The fish might get a lucky flail in here and there, but if a spine does reach your hand, it will not penetrate the puncture-proof fishing gloves.
Lionfish can bring a big bounty, so once the lionfish has been freed from the hook or spear you caught it on, you’ll, of course, want to keep it. If you do, then again, use your puncture-proof gloves to put it in your ice chest or aerator, and be sure those same gloves are on your hands whenever you handle the lionfish again. It will then be up to you whether or not to prepare the lionfish or sell it off, but no matter what, those puncture-proof gloves should be on your hands until the lionfish is out of them.