Big, bad and the ugly...the Fishing Spider is all that. Those traits get you left alone which is a good idea with this critter. Most spiders do not gather much attention when you see them in a corner of the garage, or on their web in a bush. The Fishing Spider is different. It is very big and will startle you. It is Michigan's largest Spider. It is a river dweller and can be seen while fly fishing. It sits on dead logs in the river flattening out to a size of almost four inches across. That's big, and you will agree when you see one. They are fast, can jump and will run across the waters surface. They are however shy. The problem is as you navigate the river, often you will put your hands on a log to get leverage as you step over it. I have learned that when in the outdoors "look before you leap". That is to say, never put your hand down until you visually clear the area. This holds true for ants, snakes, poison Ivy and spiders.
Spiders are poisonous, that's the nature of their hunting tactics. A debilitating bite to their victims. The Fishing Spiders bite is not dangerous to man. It is similar to a mild bee sting. This spider will try to avoid you at all cost. To get bit you will have to trap one in your clothing next to bare skin or put your hand on one which isn't likely to happen. The Fishing Spider has the mating habits similar to the Preying Mantis. The male comes bearing gifts of food, if the female is not happy with the offering then to death do you part literally is true.
All in all they are a wonder of nature and beneficial for the environment. They feed on many things, bugs and their larva, all the way up to tadpoles and small fish. Most humans fear spiders, and for good reasons. They are creepy, poisonous, hairy, sneaky...need I go on? Most naturalist will tell you if you have one in the house, maneuver him into a box and then let him go out side. Yeah right, they are so fast that if in your pursuit he escapes capture you can chalk that night up as sleepless, at least for me. My approach is to hold the Louisville Slugger with both hands and swing through.
Just joking...sort of!