Kingfish_kicks_anglers_assYou want fishing excitement? Sure, you get the quick adrenaline rush when a bigmouth hits and jumps the first time, but heck, a big catfish can give you some scary moments dodging its barbs while you wrestle the thing. For real over-the-top moments though, you need to go to the ocean.

A couple seasons back it was the year of the barracuda. I don’t know how many reports I got about hooked or non-hooked ‘cuda catapulting from the water and hitting people with pretty severe results. And recently there was a summer of shark attacks. This year started off with a bizarre report from outdoors writer Bill Sargent. Here’s what happened:

Josh Landin, his brother Jeremy and friend Dr. Rob Platner were fishing aboard a 16-foot skiff outside Florida’s Sebastian Inlet. The bite was hot. The anglers were into a school of bluefish that were literally creaming their topwater plugs. There were pompano and even some sharks in the fray snapping at the lures.

Josh was cranking in another blue when suddenly the fish seemed to morph into something else, another creature entirely—a creature on the attack: “….huge with its mouth wide open,” said Landin. “It hit me in the chest and as I went down, it grabbed my calf and shin its mouth. It had already clipped my fingers.”

The creature was a king mackerel (kingfish) that was chasing Landin’s hooked blue. As it broke the surface in pursuit of the blue, the king slammed into Landin’s chest and knocked the 6-foot, 3-inch angler to the deck.

Far from being tired, the free-jumping kingfish was going crazy in the cockpit, but everyone’s attention was on Landin who was bleeding uncontrollably. There was no first aid gear on board, so torn T-shirts had to suffice as bandages. They fired up the motor and headed in.

At the emergency room, Josh was treated for more than 5 hours and received 105 stitches to close his wounds, plus a mega dose of antibiotics to counter infection.

As for the fish, it died in the boat. The king weighed 57 pounds and was 5 feet long. Landin is keeping the jaws as a souvenir, and wonders if he’d been registered in a kingfish tournament, whether he would have garnered one of the top $80,000 prizes.

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