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Outdoors

Daily fishing report

By DAVE MISTRETTA
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 28, 2003

Prepare for an invasion of poisonous jellyfish. Thousands of Portuguese man-of-wars are drifting toward our coastline as you read this. The northwest winds from recent cold fronts have pushed them our way and a few have washed up on Indian Rocks Beach.

If you are heading to the beach, beware. Even after these jellyfish wash up and die, they can hurt you. Their long tentacles hold hundreds of barbs to stun prey, and the stingers hold the potent venom for days after they die. The purple tentacles can grow to 30 feet and can roll up in the surf undetected.

The sting burns intensely and sends some people to the hospital. Bare feet are vulnerable, so wear shoes or sandals when strolling on the beach.

And be careful if you're throwing a cast net. My experiences with these animals have caused severe pain and left scars for six months. The length of the tentacles beneath the surface can fool fishermen. The east coast of Florida normally has the largest population, but the jellyfish have become a nuisance on our coast as well. Eventually, they'll drift away from us.

-- Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 595-3276, or e-mail sales@jawstoo.com .

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