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Old 02-13-2011, 09:30 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Default Nice wind, attack fish, man-o-war, sharks and other sea pests?

Lots in parts of southeast Florida have probably seen lifeguards post on their stands under "Sea Pests" recently, "man-o-war and sharks." Well, they have a point I guess. The spinner sharks are migrating north and reefs of man-o-war periodically are blow ashore. Other pests sometimes come out of left field. Wonder if I should ride with a large fly swatter or maybe a sushi knife and cutting board?


About 2 seconds before things got interesting. The GoPro was firing still shots every 2 seconds making time keeping pretty easy.

Anyway was out today with a brand new Crossbow 13 m eating up some nice wind for a change. The kite performed marvelously, really stoked on this kite. I had ridden out about 3/8 of a mile and saw a weed line. I looked around for evidence of feeding fish, bait kicking up, diving birds, shark fins, etc.. Didn't see anything and so went across it. I turned around and headed back towards the beach when within about 10 seconds I saw something jump out of the water flying right towards me.


I was hoping I caught something on my GoPro and amazingly lucked out right about the time the fish launched towards me. Thinking he might have gotten interested when I first passed over the weed line. Or, maybe I just caught a random jump as a shark or wahoo was chasing it? Have to say its marksmanship was pretty good.



A cropped closeup of the above image in normal form and as a negative to improve definition.


Only got a one second or so image but thought it might be a small 2 to 2 1/2 ft. spinner shark or mackerel. Next thing, BANG into the board and I am pitched into the water. Well, if it was a shark, there are likely others and my board is a good distance away. Not my favorite body dragging venue.


Two seconds later ... this!


Two more seconds and time to get the board, hoping nothing nails me as I recover it and water start.

So, I got to the board body dragging as quietly as I could, went to water start when I saw some spray kick up about 15 ft. away with some blood in it?! Things keep getting better. I don't know if I cut the fish that collided with me and something else hit it like a shark, another one of these guys hit some invisible bait or ?

So, I launch and book into shore a good clip thinking weed lines are not a good place to hang out during shark migrations. On the beach, I still wasn't certain if it was a shark or not. I saw several real little spinners like that from the Lake Worth pier a few days back. I headed back, electing not to go near the weedline and had no more incidents for the next couple of hours. I did see one spinner shark jump and spin about a 1/4 mile south and flocks of feeding gulls about 3/8 mile offshore but that was about it. I resolved to stay away from normal signs of feeding. I had already given up on riding with dozens of visible spinner sharks based on what showed up in a video shot from a kite recently, untoward interest in kiters. A bunch of larger man-o-war had showed up nearshore and on the beach within the hour as well. Didn't get hit by any of those guys, second day in a row too.

I was thinking with our combined approach speed, a shark might have done some nasty damage just from impact alone to my leg. If the teeth were involved, worse still of course. First time I have heard of a kiter being hit by a mackerel or whatever this thing is. Houndfish, needle fish have pierced both kiters and windsurfers in the past. Still not sure what this fish was, other than it isn't a spinner. Michael has suggested it might be a bluefin tuna, Brian a blackfin tuna. It does resemble both fish from illustrations online.


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Last edited by RickI; 02-14-2011 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:21 PM
troubleshooter troubleshooter is offline
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Bonito
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:31 PM
patternw patternw is offline
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Bonito
x 2
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:55 AM
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I thought it might have been a bonito possibly in the glimpse I caught when it left the water, or shark, couldn't tell for sure. Looking at illustrations of bonito online, it looks more like a blackfin or bluefin tuna to me. I know more about reef fish than the pelagic stuff that hangs out in deeper water. The last time I went trolling offshore was decades back and so was uncertain about this one. Thanks for the input.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:06 PM
phil burke phil burke is offline
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Default water pests

lots of sharks spotted yesterday at Pompano.
As if kiting were not enough of a rush.
Body dragging somehow is different when you are down in the food chain!
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:44 PM
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You got that right. Surfers get nailed a lot as do swimmers. Most of the very few times kiters have been attacked, we've been in the water. Body dragging with shark schools nearby isn't a good idea.

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lots of sharks spotted yesterday at Pompano.
As if kiting were not enough of a rush.
Body dragging somehow is different when you are down in the food chain!
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:19 AM
flylow flylow is offline
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Yo Rick....I was out 2/20 up at Stuart doing S-N downwinder 5 Miles from the feeding area of the Nuclear power plant. Two spinners (3') jumped out about 2 miles S of the plant about 15-20 feet away from my board. Then I kited near a 2 ft size on the surface and HE WAS NOT scared by my board noise or my shaddow. Next all I could see was Steve's face telling me to head to shore. My buddy on a strapless continued by the coward. Dangling his legs every once in a while doing board retreival.
Is there any way we as kiters can inform each other of the densities and locations of these migrations or is it so wide off the coast to be impossible?
We flew over the area the day before and spotted a hammerhead in the migration. Seems at W. Palm and South that the water is clear and you might see if you are in a dense sharkie area? Not having kited there I am not sure?
Next downwinder we started further S from the power plant. Not sure that it mattered as we saw 4 spinners jump from my condo at 5 PM. You can't see into the water at that spot.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:37 AM
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I have been trying to get into a large school for some underwater photography in calm clear sunny conditions without success yet. I have been trying to figure out a way to learn of such a school near realtime when good conditions are on but no joy to date. Guys that fly along the coast as you do are in the best position. Ocean Rescue/Cities aren't fond about broadcasting this information or set up to do it either outside of fairly rare beach closures.

Spinners (and similar) blacktips account for more attacks on record in Florida than by any other species. There has only been one fatality attributed to spinners however as they apparently don't like the way we taste. Thing is if that first and perhaps only bite cuts a vital blood vessel that could be enough to take you out. Then there are the larger species that feed on the spinner migration that you mentioned to think about. For the most part they seem to ignore us but at other times you can see the shadows chase kiters, spinners now. Riding in the schools is a bad idea as a result. Some kiters may not be attacked but over time, some will. Volunteers? If you knowingly ride in the schools that is what you are volunteering for to be clear on the point.

The schools move, thicken up and thin out fairly rapidly day to day. Spinners will jump fairly frequently too not necessarily correlating well with larger schools. Other than posting updates on here which will be hit or miss, posting tweets, not a lot of ideas come to mind for spreading the word on movement of larger schools. There is nothing to say you need a lot of sharks to be attacked still to see some of the kite based video having a handful of sharks chase you on turns is impressive. Do pilots share updates on things like this in the way boat captains do? Do you have some fellow pilots that frequently fly coastwise that might radio in updates that could be posted? Other ideas?
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:15 PM
thebestkite thebestkite is offline
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Paddle boarded the other day, and saw a spinner shark jump out about 30 ft away, just outside the buoys. Lots of tarpon running around too, especially early in the morning just after sunrise. Straight of the beach here by the Marriott Harbor Beach.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:22 PM
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Wow man. I would have completely panicked. I know now in the Winter time there is like a huge migration of sharks heading North. Do you happen to know when that migration finishes? I would assume sometime in the summer, like May, when the water is warmer. Be careful man, last year or the year before (I don't remember exactly) a kitesurfer was killed by a school of sharks after falling into the water in West Palm Beach. I believe it was during the time of the shark migration.
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