Many fishermen consider fishing a relatively safe and non-hazardous sport; however, there are some risks associated with it that every angler should be aware of – one of which is the animals they may encounter during deep sea fishing expeditions. There are some marine animals that fishermen should be wary of – an encounter with the following animals could ruin a fisherman’s day – or worse:
1. The Stingray: The barbs on a stingray’s tail are not used by the animal to attack by any means; their purpose is completely defensive. The rays can drive its tail around with tremendous force, and since the bone-hard spine has serrated curved teeth, the barbs go into skin easier than they come out! The effects of being stung by the barbs can not only be incredibly painful, but also instill an intense infection in the fisherman. What can make avoiding rays so tricky is the fact that they burrow just under the sand in the water, making them almost impossible to see.
2. The California Scorpionfish: Also known as the “sculpin”, this fish is common off the Pacific Coast. They lack hollow spines with venom glands, but they do have deep grooves that carry a strong, poisonous substance. It is for this reason that locals call them “rattlesnakes”. Swelling, pain, and burning can happen for days following a simple little poke by the fish.
3. The Candiru: This fish has no scales, and is likened to a parasitic catfish. It is also translucent, and grows to a length of only about 1 inch. So what makes a tiny fish like this so deadly? This fish feeds on blood, and is often found in the gills of larger fish. Unfortunately, it also sometimes attacks humans – it’s been known to enter the urethras of swimmers, erecting short spines and causing hemorrhage, inflammation, and even death to its victim.
4. The Stonefish: This venomous fish is found in shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific area. They are bottom-dwellers that have large mouths, small eyes, and a bumpy skin that really does make them appear as nothing more than part of the bottom. If they are stepped on, they inject venom through grooves in their fin spines; wounds inflicted by the fish in this matter are excruciatingly painful and sometimes fatal.
5. The Jellyfish: The Man-of-War, which isn’t a true jellyfish, can grow to shocking sizes. They can grow tentacles that extend out to at least 30 feet, and can be longer than 150 feet in total – and each of those tentacles is filled with stinging cells. Box jellies, also known as sea wasps, are only a few inches in size, but their tentacles can stretch to up to a length of two yards. They are translucent and difficult for people to see. A sting from one can kill a victim in just a few minutes from cardiac and respiratory arrest.
While these are only five examples of some of the world’s most dangerous marine animals, it would be wise for fishermen to do some research on the marine animals which are known to reside in the areas in which they will be fishing. Whether one is inclined to wade fishing, deep sea fishing, or anything in between, some knowledge of the dangers of the area could save you a lot of pain – and even your life.