Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fish Missiles

Watch out, anglers! If you’re fishing in northern Florida, the fish may get their revenge. The endangered armor plated sturgeons there have been jumping out of the water at boats, wounding and nearly killing a number of boaters:

These sturgeon fish can get as large as 8 feet long and 200 pounds in weight, and have hardly changed in 225 million years. They are covered in thick, armor-like scales. People on the waterways there have been innocently boating along, thinking pleasant thoughts of murdering hapless little fishies baited with steely hooks cunningly hidden by worms or lures, when suddenly – BOOM! – a gigantic, prehistoric fish leaps out of the water and slams into them, enacting karmic revenge for the slaughter and degutting of its fellow Pisces. According to the article, victims of these fish missiles have suffered a fractured spine, a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, slit throat, broken ribs, broken jaw, wounds that have required plastic surgery, knocked unconscious, and/or put into a coma!

Geez. Fish & Wildlife doesn’t know why they jump like this, but it is mainly from June to August (“leaping season”). Perhaps, they say, it is simply a way of avoiding the boat, or a form of fish-to-fish communication, or “flushing the gills.” It’s not exactly a typical fish thing. I mean, you never hear anyone say, “What out for that flying trout!” and fishing nets are usually meant to be used in the water.

Personally, I’d like to give the fish some credit for its viciousness. To that end, I’ve concocted a top-ten list for the motivations of these flying sturgeons:


10. Kill the humans!

9. Gymnastics, fish-style.

8. A sudden craving for man-flesh.

7. I always wanted a boat ride.

6. Cannonball!

5. Who needs wings? Weeeeee!

4. Just trying to get a look around.

3. So you like to eat fish, eh? How’s this for sushi!

2. One small jump for sturgeon, one giant leap for fish-kind.

1. Your worms or your life!

Well, if I ever find myself boating in northern Florida in the summertime, I’ll be sure to wear my chainmail vest and riot helmet, just in case.

My thanks to Scott Adams’ blog entry for a heads-up on this story.

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