A finger that will never be the same, an irritated coach and nine weeks away from the game he loves are not enough to deter Cowboy Scott Bolton from the prospect of another big catch.
The Cowboys are currently on a bye after their against-the-odds victory against St George Illawarra over the weekend and Bolton is using that time to get back in touch with nature.
Teammate Jason Taumalolo told the Sunday Footy Show of his intentions of joining Bolton on a fishing trip during the time off, hoping for a catch in the vicinity of Bolton's personal record of a 128-centimetre Barramundi.
During Representative Round in early May, Bolton headed down near Rockhampton for a fishing trip with Robert Lui and Antonio Winterstein, when he sliced open his right index finger cutting up a catfish for crab pot bait.
As a result the 28-year-old will never have movement in the end knuckle, while he currently needs help from his left hand to make a closed fist – a range of movement that is improving by just 1 millimetre per day.
A mindful Bolton told NRL.com that while his absence was a big hit to both his and North Queensland's season, he doesn't intend to stray away from his favourite pastime outside of football.
"That's me, that's my lifestyle and that's what I enjoy doing, but a bit too casual on the day and it just shows how quickly things can go wrong in doing something that I've done probably two or three times a week," Bolton said.
"The club were very disappointed considering the time of year, and 'Greeny' said it's hard enough trying to contain injuries that happen on the field without injuries happening away from footy.
"But they were very understanding because I wasn't doing anything outrageous or irresponsible, it's something that I've been doing all my life really."
A Cowboy both on and off the field, Bolton is the unofficial captain of outdoor adventure with many of his teammates tagging along to wet a line or occasionally venturing inland to chase wild boar.
As players are allowed one day off per week, Bolton says his spots are the estuaries closer to home where he can "clear the mind", rather than the reef which is too far a trip to feel like a day off.
"A lot of the boys swap and change whenever they want to go. I think most of the boys like to get away. The mainstays are 'Robbie' (Lui) and Javid Bowen at the moment. They're always there and always keen," he said.
"Jakey Granville really likes it. 'Hally' (Glenn Hall) and those sorts of boys they love the outdoors, getting out and camping away from town."
Bolton made his way back into the team on Saturday and went right to work as one of the Cowboys' best forwards, with 159 metres from 14 runs, and 23 tackles in 47 minutes.
The underrated workhorse has played some of the best football of his career this year, averaging 107 metres and 24 tackles per game, and will be a vital cog come September – if he can retain all of his fingers.