When you’re fishing, sometimes you never know what you’ll catch!
Leaping ‘Cuda Takes Bite Out of Angler
Thanks to an experienced and quick-thinking Florida fishing guide, an angler was no worse for the wear after meeting with the business end of an airborne barracuda.
Fort Lauderdale guide Capt. Carl Ball related one of his wildest fishing tales of the year to Steve Waters, outdoor writer for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
It seems Ball took a couple of fishing clients to Biscayne Bay where they enjoyed an outing with plenty of red snapper and bonefish action. After a darting barracuda bit one of the angler’s bonefish in half as he reeled it in, Ball rigged a heavy conventional outfit with a Penn 4/0 reel to see if they could hook a hungry ‘cuda.
And they boated one, albeit very briefly.
As one of the anglers was fighting an aggressive 20- to 25-pound barracuda, the fish suddenly leapt into the air and headed toward the surprised angler through the air, its mouth open wide, exposing razor-sharp teeth.
“It happened instantly,” Ball said. “Somehow or another the angler deflected it and the ‘cuda just bounced back into the water.
“Right away I say, ‘Are you all right?’ I saw the ‘cuda’s teeth and I was afraid his teeth had gotten him. The guy pulls up his left sleeve and blood just comes squirting out of his arm.”
That’s when the experienced guide took charge.
Ball grabbed the fishing rod from the injured angler and instructed his companion to place pressure on the wound using a rag. Then he called 911.
“I told them what was going on and told them we were going to the boat ramp at Crandon Park Marina (in Key Biscayne) and to meet us there, we were 10 minutes out.”
Paramedics were waiting for Ball and his injured fisherman at the marina.
After initial treatment and blood pressure monitoring, the angler was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated and released.
While the wound turned out to be relatively minor (requiring a couple of stitches), the fishing story itself is one that both guide and angler will likely classify as one of their biggest ever.
Catch & Release Fisherman
Ray Dushkin Jr. bent over to pick up a hatch on the deck of his grandfather’s fishing boat. The next thing the 19-year-old knew, a 12-foot, 1,500-pound sea lion leapt out of the water, chomped into the seat of his Carhartts and yanked backward, sending the teen into the harbor at King Cove near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula.
“Right on his derriere! Lucky he wears baggy pants or I’m sure that sea lion would have taken a chunk of his (butt),” his father, Ray, Sr., later told the local paper.
Dushkin spent a few seconds under water before the seal lion released him, but he was not seriously injured. His left buttock sported an inch-and-a-half scrape, but no bite mark, he said. His coveralls were torn through, as were the pants worn beneath them. And, he got a heck of a scare.
“It happened so fast, I forgot what I was doing,” he said.
An 81-year-old Floridian needed open-heart surgery after a spotted eagle stingray sailed out of the water and onto his boat, stabbing him in the chest with its 12-inch barb.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, James Bertakis required the surgery to remove a broken off portion of the stingray barb.
The bizarre incident occurred on the Florida Intercoastal Waterway near the community of Lighthouse Point.
According to relatives on board, the 5-foot wide stingray stabbed Bertakis when he tried to push it back into the water.
When emergency medical technicians arrived on the scene, they found the victim conscious, with a foot-long barb in the left side of his chest.
“He was in pain from the toxins,” said Lt. Mike Sullivan of the Lighthouse Point Fire Department.
Sullivan said he had never heard of such a stingray attack in his 23 years of emergency work.
Carl Luer, a shark and ray expert at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, agreed the incident was highly unusual.
“I’ve never heard of an eagle ray jumping into a boat before,” Leur told the newspaper “But I can tell you it was not trying to jump into the boat. It was a pure accident.”