Katherine Perkins of Arnold, Maryland, was injured after a sailfish estimated to be 100 pounds jumped into the boat she was in, while anglers in the boat struggled with fish that jumped in height.
TCPalm.com reported that the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said the sailfish beak hit her in the groin and that Perkins’ companions Louis Toth, 75, and Dominic Bellezza, 77, had applied pressure to his wound. Perkins was taken to hospital for treatment, but her condition is unknown.
The incident happened while fishermen were fishing two miles off Stuart, Florida, on the Atlantic coast, north of Palm Beach and Miami.
“The sailboat jumped out of the water and stabbed Katherine in the groin area as she stood next to the center console” of the fishing boat, the sheriff’s office said.
Some social media reports claim that Perkins was “attacked” by the sailboat, which is not true. Such embellishment can be linked to the many shark attacks and sightings along US shores now, and also the fact that Discovery TV’s ever-popular “Shark Week” is on the way.
Sailfish are among the most prized game fish in the world, admired for their lightening speed and their fight at height when hooked by anglers. The sails usually jump well above the surface, and the fish that speared Perkins undoubtedly jumped because it was near the boat or was trying to be landed by someone on board.
The fish unfortunately launched out of the water, into the boat, and injured Perkins. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said the fishermen were trying to take a photo of the sailboat when it jumped into their boat.
Many similar billfish incidents have occurred over the years, including sailfish. The sails are regularly brought aboard the boat, where a crew member grabs the fish’s beak, lifts it for a photo or two, and unhooks the very live fish to quickly release it so it is not harmed.
Sailfish anglers have often been “speared” over the years, usually on the arms or shoulders when a freshly caught sailfish is handled on the boat during release procedures.
Much larger marlin and swordfish have injured and even killed fishing crews in an angling fight.