Words and photo by Chris Funk
As soon as I felt the knife tip skip over the bone and cartilage in the knuckle of my thumb I knew I had screwed up. I try to keep a sharp knife at all times and this one was keen enough to split DNA. As I watched the crimson trickle sparkle in the morning sun I was aggravated. It hurt, but the physical pain was not as bad as dealing with self inflicted stupidity. To top it all off, I was not prepared to deal with an injury, even a minor one.
Normally I am a perpetual boy scout: ready for almost any situation. I have first aid kits in all of our vehicles but the truck was a long paddle back and the fishing was just heating up. Had the injury been severe I would have sacrificed a strip of shirt to wrap it up and headed back. This cut hurt but was more annoying than anything else. I didn't need a first aid kit big enough to do field surgery, but it would have been nice to be able to disinfect and protect it for the rest of my trip. A simple bandage would have prevented the next painful moment when the cut was reopened while landing a nice bass.
After I got home and doctored my thumb I decided to look at what was available for outdoorsman in first aid kits. I wanted something small to fit in the in either the day hatch or my seat back and was surprised at how many choices there were. Just about every outdoor store had options for small kits for less than $10. Here's an example. The basic components were:
1"x3" plastic bandage strips
Sting relief wipes
Each kit had this basic assembly but some had additions of outdoor related first aid items such as sunburn cream, tick removing tweezers or poison ivy cream. I bought a few kits to put in my family's kayaks. I will add the extra protection of a zipper style bag to make sure the contents stay protected for a good while but for a few dollars more there were waterproof models. The waterproof ones came in hard cases and they were nice but I was trying to make sure I could fit it in a day hatch. Putting one of these small kits in your kayak may make the difference between cutting a trip short or not. With reports of bad bacteria in area waters any extra precautions we can take as anglers really need to be taken. Now if little stuff goes wrong on the water I can take care of it without much of a fuss.
Jackson Kayak pro staffer Chris Funk is a proud self-proclaimed redneck outdoorsman. He swings a mean camera, particularly when any of his beloved critters are around. Funk is a Kayak Fish Magazine contributing editor.