As written by Adriana Mendez and reported on The Fishing Wire, the Campiones's weekend family trip to Fox Lake in Wisconsin turned into a scary ordeal after the family said a fish bit their son. A.J. Campione was just about to test out new water skis when he felt something clamp down on his foot.
"I ripped it out, and I knew I was bleeding, so I screamed ‘I've been bitten!’ It was a lot of pain," AJ said.
A.J.'s mother, Wendy, didn't believe her son at first until she saw the bite marks.
"I pulled him on the boat, and we screamed. We saw his foot and all the blood coming from his foot," Wendy said.
The family rushed A.J. to the hospital, where he received sixteen stitches. Wendy said there were 40 pin marks on the bottom of A.J.'s foot. After research, they believe a northern pike or a muskie was the culprit.
"We just couldn't believe it," Wendy said.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the chances of being bit by either of these freshwater fish are rare, but muskies and northern pike are known for their aggressive feeding styles.
"Their feeding pattern is this ambush-style, and they are very effective predators," said Laura-Stremick-Thompson, with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Stremick-Thompson said she during her 20 years with the DNR she has never heard of this happening at Fox Lake.
"I never had a report like this on muskies or northern pike in Dodge County, so it's new to me, but it does happen occasionally," Stremick-Thompson said. Stremick-Thompson said A.J.'s injuries are very similar to images of two previous Muskie bites in another state.
Despite this scary incident, A.J. and the family said they wouldn't let this stop them from jumping back into the water.
"It's not going to happen again, so I'm just going to go in and have fun," A.J. said.
A.J.'s new nickname is now “Muskie Bait.”
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.