A child was hospitalized on Monday after being stabbed in the chest by a catfish in New Port Richey, a small town northwest of Tampa.
WFLA in Tampa reported that the child, who was under ten years of age, was stabbed at an area pond. Rescue officials said that the child was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa on a trauma alert by emergency response personnel after experiencing difficulties breathing.
According to Pasco Fire Rescue, the catfish’s barb went between one and one-and-a-half inches into the child’s chest cavity. Fishermen are advised to be careful when catfishing, a major industry and popular leisure activity in a number of southern states like Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas.
Younger catfish are known to have very sharp “stingers”, which The Angler Within notes “turn into formidable weapons when they decide to thrash about” but dull over time so larger catfish don’t pose as much of a threat.
A select number of midwestern states like Missouri and Ohio are also home to a significant number of catfish.
In 2018, a fisherman in Missouri experienced hallucinations and was unable to walk for a day after he was stabbed in the knee trying to haul a catfish into his boat in the Ozarks. WFLA has reported that the Florida victim of the catfish barb is in stable condition.