A news story popped up on the website of the New York Daily News today about Texas angler Keith Korth (below), who is currently recovering in a Houston hospital following a leg amputation. After competing in a fishing tournament in Port O’Connor, TX, last weekend, Korth began feeling sharp pain in his left leg. Turns out, thanks to a blister on his foot caused by his wading boot, he had been infected by necrotizing fasciitis, a form of flesh-eating bacteria. What started as a blister a some pain turned into the need for amputation very quickly in order to stop the bacteria from getting into his blood stream, which would have killed him. Is this rare? Yes, but it’s a scary scenario all anglers should think about, especially this year.
It’s been a brutally hot summer across the country, so bodies of water that normally stay cooler are roasting. Just in my neck of the woods alone, my favorite smallmouth streams are locked around 80 degrees and the local lakes are practically boiling. Flesh-eating bacteria thrives in warm water, both salt and fresh, so if you’re doing any wet-wading, be mindful of open wounds on your body, even if they’re tiny.
Just last weekend I spent a morning wading the Raritan River for bass. Though it still has decent flow, there are many spots I traversed that are slow and weedy and even warmer than the main current. Thing is, my legs were all scratched up from the sticker bushes I had to get through to the reach the water. After reading this story (and there have been other cases this year in fresh water), I’m kind of breathing a baby sigh of relief. I think I’ll deal with the heat and wear waders next time.