Thousands of fish racing around, jumping out of the water in waves featuring a certain artistic symmetry gave beach-goers on a sandbar in the Outer Banks of North Carolina quite a thrill. An excited man with a camera captured video of huge schools of jumping mullet and nearly got run over by them. “Holy cow, that’s awesome,” he says on the video. How awesome? Judge for yourself in his YouTube video:
The man with the YouTube handle PitBenKDH posted the video and excitedly described the scene:
This HUGE school of jumping mullet raced by me jumping two feet out of the water! I have never seen so many fish jump in such a large group! At the end, I check the camera and the fish start jumping right into me! It was amazing!
He said they were standing on a shallow sandbar, 75 yards offshore, just north of Ocean Bay Beach Access in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks.
So why were the fish jumping as they were?
Hap Fatzinger, a curator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, told the Star News of Wilmington, North Carolina, that they’re probably trying to evade a predator.
“Or, maybe they’re not jumping for any reason,” Fatzinger said. “I mean, why does a humpback whale jump?”
A commenter named Sue at MyReporter.com offered the most plausible and thorough explanation:
The old-timers and fishermen on the Outer Banks knew that when the mullet began their “jumping,” most often in the early fall, it indicated that the “blues” were “running,” referring to the predatory schools of bluefish that love mullet and chase them in close to shore for easier catching. The fishermen would then rush to reap the bounty of blues running behind the mullet. Mullet will sometimes beach themselves in their efforts to escape the bluefish.
So, it’s pretty simple what you are seeing in the video: It’s a sign to go fishing for bluefish.
Thanks CBS News for the tip!