This Is How Flying Fish Artfully Dodge Yellowfin Tuna

by Owen James Burke


(Illustration copyright: H. Holt and Co. 1909, via Adventures of the Blackgang)

The above illustration may seem exaggerated, but apart from the fisherman boldly standing amidst the barrage of fish, it’s not far from scenes many a seafarer has encountered. (A sensible human being would be hurdled on the deck in the fetal position, defending their life.)

Any sailor who’s ever spent serious time on blue water (the open ocean, that is) will tell you that when flying fish are being pursued by yellowfin tuna, they indiscriminately hurl themselves airborne in any which direction their fins are able to take them. And any small craft sailor who has witnessed this phenomenon will likely tell you that, having ridden lower to the water line, they’ve been stricken–or at least boarded–by the winged fishes.

Adrift author and TransAtlantic sailor Steven Callahan, who spent 76 days in an open life raft in the Atlantic, was frequently visited by kamikaze fish, which he welcomed with open arms. Occasionally, tuna will follow them over your rail too, at which point you’re in for a real treat…or prompt and utter darkness.

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