BLOOD stains in and around the cabin of a small fishing trawler told the story of the painful moments after Barry Dwarte, 62, had his lower forearm caught in a fishing net winch on Lake Wooloweyah yesterday morning.
The veteran fisherman from Maclean was operating the single-operator trawler Miya yesterday when the mishap occurred about 9.30am.
Despite his injuries it is understood Mr Dwarte managed to call a friend, who, in turn, called a fellow fisherman - who was on the lake at the time - to help.
The fisherman, who did not want to be named, used an aluminium punt to transport Mr Dwarte to waiting paramedics a short way up Palmers Channel.
Paramedics treated Mr Dwarte and he was airlifted from the scene shortly before 10.30am.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter service said Mr Dwarte was taken to the Lismore Helibase before being airlifted to Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital, where it is understood he would undergo microsurgery.
Mr Dwarte's wife, Margaret, was said to be shaken by the incident and the Lower Clarence fishing community was rallying to help the family.
Police said the incident would be investigated by Marine Area Command and WorkCover.
Commercial fisherman George Baker said this type of incident was rare.
Princess Alexandra Hospital said Mr Dwarte was in surgery last night and his condition was unknown.