Close Encounters Man vs. Nature

It’s man overboard as angry billfish jumps into boat

Chaotic incident involving hooked marlin calls for extreme evasive action on the part of the crew

billfish

A billfish leaps into the boat

The trouble with marlin fishing is that sometimes, although rarely, the acrobatic fish find their way into the boat before they’ve been sufficiently tired out.

When that happens, the scene can become chaotic and the crew must react on instinct.

For one crewman, as seen in the accompanying footage (posted below), that means jumping overboard to escape the flailing billfish.

That left the other crewman to try to protect the angler in the chair, by having him climb out of the chair and step away, until the marlin wore itself out.

In the YouTube version, the man who jumped overboard can be seen swimming back to the boat, so presumably this story had a happy ending for everyone but the billfish.

Any veteran marlin angler has experienced some sort of close call, but usually a captain at the wheel can steer the boat away from incoming billfish.

Occasionally, however, a hot marlin gets into a boat and generates lasting, and sometimes painful memories.

Years ago in Mexico, a young man who was part of a large charter had gone into the cabin to lie down. A hooked marlin leaped into the boat, flopped all the way into the cabin, and stabbed him in the butt with its bill.

Another old story involves a swordfish that struck a boat in mid-flight, its bill penetrating the wall of the head, or bathroom.

The crew took that in stride. It removed the fish from its bill and used the bill as a toilet-paper holder.

In 2012, an estimated 600-pound black marlin leaped onto a cruiser as it was being reeled in by an angler off Cairns, Australia. It smashed equipment and sent the crew scattering, but flopped back into the water before anyone got hurt.

Last August off the Dominican Republic, a 350-pound blue marlin almost speared an angler after leaping onto the boat as it was being reeled to the leader.

The angler got his catch, but the marlin nearly made him pay dearly for the experience.

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