Katherine Perkins of Arnold, Maryland was hurt after an estimated 100-pound sailfish leaped into the boat she was standing in, while anglers in the boat battled the high-jumping fish.
TCPalm.com reported the Martin County Sheriff’s Office stated the sailfish bill struck her in the groin and Perkins’ companions, Louis Toth, 75, and Dominic Bellezza, 77, applied pressure to her wound. Perkins was taken to a hospital for treatment, but her condition is unknown.
The incident occurred while the anglers were fishing two miles offshore Stuart, Florida, on the Atlantic Coast, north of Palm Beach and Miami.
“The sailfish jumped out of the water and stabbed Katherine in the groin area while she was standing next to the center console” of the fishing boat, the sheriff’s office said.
Some social media reports claim Perkins was “attacked” by the sailfish, which is untrue. Such embellishment may be connected to the many shark attacks and sightings along America’s coasts now, and also that Discovery TV’s always-popular “Shark Week” is on tap.
Sailfish are among the world’s most prized gamefish, admired for their lighting speed and high-leaping fight when hooked by anglers. Sails commonly jump far above the surface and the fish that speared Perkins undoubtedly jumped as it was near the boat or 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 anglers were trying to take a photo of the sailfish when it leaped into their boat.
Many similar billfish incidents have occurred over the years, including sailfish. Sails are regularly brought boatside, where a crew member grabs the fish’s bill, lifting it for a photo or two, and unhooking the very-much-alive fish for quick release so it is not injured.
Sailfish anglers have been “speared” often over the years, usually to the arms or shoulders when a fresh-caught sailfish is handled at the boat during releasing procedures.
Far larger marlin and swordfish have injured and even killed fishing crews during an angling bout.