"Fishing is not an escape from life, but often a deeper immersion into it..." Harry Middleton
Anyone care for a peanut butter and Jellyfish sandwich? Where the heck did all of these Jellyfish come from? Actually, it happens around here every September. This is when our Jellyfish "bloom" happens. First you notice just one or two floating in with the tide and the next thing you realize is that they cover every square foot of water. Next come the news reports of people getting stung both in the Intracoastal waterway and all over the beach. What really gets me is that last year most of the Jellyfish in our area were Moon Jellyfish, this year I think we have Sea Nettle Jellyfish. I must have looked at a hundreds of pictures of Jellyfish and couldn't find the exact ones I see here. That's not a surprise when there are over 2,000 known species of Jellyfish.
Jellyfish are a member the phylum Cnidaria, to which the coral, sea whip and sea anemones also belong. They are simple invertebrates and are mobile unlike all other member species of the phylum Cnidaria. The movements of jellyfish are usually subject to winds and currents of the ocean, although they are capable of vertical movement. Jellyfish have the ability to sting with their tentacles. Their tentacles have a number of capsule like apparatus that are filled with paralysis causing toxins and are fired when the tentacles comes in contact with something. Jellyfish use this ability mainly for hunting; however, Jellyfish also use this to defend themselves. The toxins in the tentacles are powerful enough to paralyze their victim and buy enough time to escape, if not to kill it. However, in the case of humans, most jellyfish stings will only result in minor discomfort. The severity of stings is high in jellyfish found in warm and temperate oceans and these can be dangerous to humans.
If you do get stung, locals will offer you lots of advise on what to put on the skin to stop the stinging and swelling. You'll hear about everything from meat tenderizers to urine. Here's some recommended ideas. First, rinse the wound with salt water or vinegar. Rinsing with urine, alcohol, or fresh water can actually make the sting worse. Baking soda mixed with water and meat tenderizer work to neutralize the Jellyfish toxin. Ice can stop the spread of the toxin to other areas. I have it on good authority that aloe can help sooth the infected skin area after it's been rinsed.
So even if you are wading out in the water for some fishing, keep your eyes open. Wear long pants and shoes if you have to. Avoid swimming in areas that have Jellyfish. (Justin, that includes swimming behind the Bait House) Having been stung myself, this is not a fun thing in anyway.
Remember to stop by the Bait House for all of your bait and tackle needs or to just share a fishing story with us. We have dock access for your boat. I can be emailed at Jim2988@msn.com and as always, Good Luck Out There! (Jim can be found daily at the Bait House - Clearwater Municipal Marina.)
Return to Current Edition