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                      Fighting the Fishermen‟s Curse
                     While others suffer silently, one fisherman finally
             finds relief after 35 years with the help of a new shielding lotion

It doesn‟t matter where you fish - pier, lake, stream, or ocean - chances are you or
someone you know already suffers from the “fishermen‟s curse.” The symptoms may be
bothersome - dry, sore, cracked, or irritated hands you simply live with. Or they may be
excruciating - with blisters, peeling skin, the works.

We‟re not talking Tutankhamen‟s Curse, but something real, widespread, often simply
accepted as a cost of fishing by those who love the sport. Beyond exposure to sun, water,
and wind, which can dry out and “weather” hands is the most understated threat of all -
that of handling live bait, fish, and assorted slimy objects, which can produce an allergic
effect on skin, especially as we age.

Avid fisherman Bill Behl had the “fishermen‟s curse” bad, worse than anybody he ever
knew. And as owner of the fishing supply shop BaitMart/Sportmen‟s Den in Milwaukee,
Wis., Bill has seen many a fisherman pass through his doors.

“All my life I‟ve loved to fish,” says Bill. “But suddenly at age 17, when I touched
worms, leeches, fish skin, or slime, my hands started to rash, itch, and burn so much I had
to put them under hot water for relief.”

“A lot of guys‟ hands get dry, cracked, and uncomfortable from handling bait and fish,”
explains Bill. “I‟ve simply got an advanced case. There‟s something in fish, worms, and
slime that sucks the moisture from your hands and starts a reaction. Guys know what
cause it, but live with it. The trouble is, it gets worse as you get older.”

Now in his 50s, Bill‟s case of the “curse” got so bad that handling live bait would cause
the skin of his hands to blister, and his skin to peel, till he lost his fingerprints.

“Guys would taunt me, „What‟s the matter, you afraid to touch a worm?” says Bill.

Bill‟s staff handled the several million nightcrawlers, leeches, and minnows that passed
through his shop each year.

But when it came to fishing, there was no easy way out. Bill tried to rely on his fishing
buddies to bait his hook and handle his catches, but they were more interested in tending
their own gear. To protect his hands, Bill tried rubber gloves, rubber fingertips, and
every moisturizer he could find - to little avail.

“Try tying a fishing knot with gloves,” explains Bill. “You can‟t. Baiting lures and tying
lines with rubber fingertips is like bowling left-handed. You can get better at it, but just
don‟t enjoy it.”

For relief, Bill applied moisturizer to his hands six or seven times a day to make them
more pliable. But the moisturizers quickly rubbed or washed off, and did nothing to heal
damage to his skin. For moisture to improve a dry skin condition, it needs to get below
your second layer of skin. And the only moisture that does so is your skin‟s own

Fortunately, Bill and a growing number of fishermen are finding relief from the “curse”
by turning to shielding lotions, such as Gloves In A Bottle ( or
Skin MD ( These shielding lotions go beyond mere moisturizing to
bond with the outer layer of skin. Like “invisible gloves,” this keeps moisture-robbing
irritants out, while locking in your skin‟s natural moisture. The result: reduced skin
irritation and better hydrated skin that allow you to enjoy fishing the way you want to,
when you want to. One application typically lasts for four hours or more and comes off
naturally with exfoliated skin cells.

Intrigued by the concept of a shielding lotion, Bill took along some Gloves In A Bottle
samples on a fishing trip, with results better than he hoped for. “I caught 40 fish and
handled them all myself,” says Bill. “I waited for the familiar burning sensation to come,
but it never did. No itching, burning, blisters, or peeling. Nothing.”

“With the shielding lotion, I can now handle anything I want with complete freedom,
without fear of backlash,” explains Bill, who has shared his find with fishing buddies and
customers. “I bait my own hooks, land my own fish, handle my store‟s bait stock.”

Bill applies the shielding lotion every four hours, finding it “unobtrusive, impervious to
water, with no side effects.” Unlike gloves or rubber fingertips, he enjoys the invisible
protection it provides, while leaving full feeling in his fingers to tie lines, bait hooks, and
the like.

“Fishermen have suffered the „curse‟ of dry, cracked, irritable hands far too long,”
concludes Bill. “They don‟t have to now that there‟s shielding lotions. Believe me,
enjoying fishing and functioning 100% normally is worth a million bucks. Sometimes, I
find myself jumping up and down in the boat it‟s so wonderful. If I had my way, I‟d call
it Miracle in a Bottle. That‟s how strongly I feel about it.”

Shielding lotions such as Gloves In A Bottle are available in the US and Canada at over
3,000 specialty shops and over 9,500 pharmacies. For more info call 800-600-1881, or
visit For more info on Skin MD, visit

                                      By Del Williams

             Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California.

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