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How to Save a Bleeding Fish

By Louis Cahill
There’s nothing worse than watching a big beautiful wild fish bleed out from a damaged gill. I found myself in just that situation with a big brown trout one day. Watching helplessly as the water turned red. Thank God Kent was with me. Thinking fast he said, “Hey, did you finish that Coke?” I had not and he showed me a great trick.

“Drink Up Boys” photo by Louis Cahill. Healing trout with Coca Cola. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
“Drink Up Boys” photo by Louis Cahill

He opened the fish’s mouth and poured the Coke down her throat. As soon as it hit the injured gill the bleeding stopped. It was like magic. I’m not sure if it’s the carbonation or the acid but something in the Coke cauterized the wound. It saved that fish’s life. I know it for a fact because I saw her in that same pool several weeks later, although she was wise to me by then. I’m certain it was the same fish. There couldn’t be two just alike in that little pool. It’s one more thing to carry but having a Coke on hand is a great idea. The fish you save might be your own.

Louis Cahill is the publisher of Gink & Gasoline, ginkandgasoline.com. This article, which was forwarded to us by fly fishing guide Jon Baiocchi of Nevada City, is posted with permission of Louis Cahill.

[Editor's Note: MyOutdoorBuddy is asking its readers to give this a try and report back to editor@myoutdoorbuddy.com and Gink and Gasoline hookups@ginkandgasoline.com if this technique works to help you save a fish. If not that, please practice “C-P-R” on your fish, Catch-Photograph-Release.” And, remember: Always send your photos and stories to MyOutdoorBuddy.com – your free, up-to-date, online outdoor news magazine. Please include your name and hometown.]


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