Attacked by a Dolphin!

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Attacked by a Dolphin!
Attacked by a Dolphin!
Attacked by a Dolphin!
July 24, 2017 1:20 am EST
Location: 33.436N 77.743W
Wind Dir: SW (220°)
Wind Speed: 21 knots
Wind Gust: 27 knots
AT Ps: 29.89 in (1012.3 mb)
Air Temp: 82°F (27.9°C)
Dew Point: 77°F (24.8°C)
Water Temp: 82°F (27.7°C)

Attacked by a Dolphin!
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Attacked by a Dolphin!
 
 
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dolphinbait
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Joined: Jul 13, 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:41 pm    Post subject: Attacked by a Dolphin! Reply with quote

Greetings all - Apologies for the lengthy post but it's necessary to explain what happened. I have been kayak fishing for years in the intercoastal areas of GA and FL and have always without exception viewed the bottlenose dolphins as curious, playful, and social animals. I have never felt in all those years that dolphins were violent or aggressive in any way to me as a fisherman sharing their territory.

However, this past week I spent some time on St. George Island in FL on the bay side. I encountered a pod of about 6 dolphins on the way to my first spot and I made sure to leave plenty of distance between them and myself to not get in their way. No problems so far. When I arrived at my fishing spot on the banks, I landed a Redfish on the upper end of the slot and placed him into my cooler bag. After closing the bag up, my attention was drawn back out to the middle of the channel where I noticed one of the dolphins turning toward me. What caught my attention initially was the fact that the dorsal fin had stopped "porpoising" and was instead cruising directly at me like a shark. I've never seen this behavior before and it immediately looked threatening. The dolphin picked up speed and charged right at my kayak without slowing until it was inches from the broadside of my boat, then it spun quickly to the side and "body slammed" into the side of my kayak. I was nearly knocked into the water, but fortunately had braced myself before impact. After this, it hovered in the area for another few minutes "huffing" through it's blowhole and smacking the water repeatedly with its tail.

I'm no marine biologist, but this behavior is clearly not friendly or curious, and I definitely felt my well being was in jeopardy. My buddy who was with me has also spent many years kayaking coastal waters and has never seen this. We decided to leave the area and retreat to the dock as soon as it was safe to do so. After we left the little inlet we were in, the pod of dolphins which moments before had been "porpoising" in the water, stopped this normal behavior and instead changed directions rapidly with all their dorsal fins pointed directly at my buddy and I and travelling at full speed. I can't even begin to describe how terrifying this was, but we made it over an oyster bed and into the marsh grass before they closed the gap. They waited at the edge of the grasses for about 20 minutes and eventually dispersed. We made sure to let them get completely out of the area before we even attempted to leave the shallows.

Has anyone ever witnessed behavior like this? I know dolphins are intelligent, and I speculate that perhaps the alpha dolphin was trying to teach me a lesson for stealing one of his fish. I may be reading way to much into it, but that's certainly what it seemed like. Nothing I've read online indicates that dolphins ever behave aggressively toward people unless provoked, and I was well away minding my own business. Anyone have ideas on what I did wrong or why they behaved that way? I obviously want to avoid a repeat the next time I'm in the area.
  
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steve-a
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Joined: Dec 09, 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think if you type in "aggressive dolphin behavior" in google you will find that this kind of behavior happens more than you think, especially in close quarters.

Although its not common, they are wild animals and have the same mood changes that we humans do, which can lead to what you experienced.

Maybe he was just having a bad day, or he had bad eyesight and your kayak looked like a new mate, and he was showing off? chin
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zigzag
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sounds like fishing just got a little more exciting  
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RKForte
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow!
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Quint
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Joined: Mar 03, 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bet that kayak felt awful small!
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rockhound
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You were catching their dinner and pissing them off!  
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Curmudgeon
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Joined: Mar 03, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Them Gulf dolphins have no respect for others ... shrug  
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Back-Lash
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Joined: Dec 15, 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you put that redfish over the side you offered him a meal , dolphin like to eat redfish and with him over the side it was an easy meal. There's been many times I've lost some bags to sharks and whoever knows what
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pete1
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When someone steals my slice of pizza while im "hangry" after a long day, I get aggressive and moody too!! :)

interesting for sure. Thanks for sharing the experience
  
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MarlinManiac
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Joined: Jun 02, 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:45 pm    Post subject: Dolphin feeding mode Reply with quote

Your description of the dolphin's behavior reminded me of a video I saw a few years ago. I went to u-tube and found it. You may have encountered dolphins in feeding mode like the ones in the attached video. They probably saw you as a rival predator and tried to run you off.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HV7qraoAJYk
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kraus
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was fishing in the bend of a marsh creek that is 25 to 30 feet wide when two dolphin showed up and fished with me for five minutes or so. They must have rounded up a school of reds and pushed them in there because we weren't catching any before they showed but caught a dozen after they left. One of the dolphin chased a red up on the bank and came a third of its body length up on the bank after it. The boy fishing with me was from "Iowa" and was his first time fishing in the salt. He was impressed!  
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rdnkvet
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Joined: Mar 03, 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kraus wrote:
Was fishing in the bend of a marsh creek that is 25 to 30 feet wide when two dolphin showed up and fished with me for five minutes or so. They must have rounded up a school of reds and pushed them in there because we weren't catching any before they showed but caught a dozen after they left. One of the dolphin chased a red up on the bank and came a third of its body length up on the bank after it. The boy fishing with me was from "Iowa" and was his first time fishing in the salt. He was impressed!


Where were you fishing? I saw a documentary about dolphins that have developed that behavior of beaching themselves to knock fish out of the water to be eaten. Apparently this behavior has only been observed in lower SC/GA area and nowhere else in the world.
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kraus
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bald Head late September 2013. I was using a Samsung Solstice to take pics. Wish I had had something quicker and better. Lifetime memory.  
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23mako
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rdnkvet wrote:
kraus wrote:
Was fishing in the bend of a marsh creek that is 25 to 30 feet wide when two dolphin showed up and fished with me for five minutes or so. They must have rounded up a school of reds and pushed them in there because we weren't catching any before they showed but caught a dozen after they left. One of the dolphin chased a red up on the bank and came a third of its body length up on the bank after it. The boy fishing with me was from "Iowa" and was his first time fishing in the salt. He was impressed!


Where were you fishing? I saw a documentary about dolphins that have developed that behavior of beaching themselves to knock fish out of the water to be eaten. Apparently this behavior has only been observed in lower SC/GA area and nowhere else in the world.


I believe killer whales do this in the southern hemisphere to eat seals.

Scary story for sure. It's amazing how flipper has created this story line that dolphin are cuddly creatures. I listened to this podcast a few years ago about some woman who lived with dolphins and they became sexually attracted to her. Let's just say she admitted to "relieving" one of them lol.
  
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BluePirate
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have fished quite a bit in FL and at ST. George as well. Many times on the gulf coast we could not release a fish without the Dolphin rushing the boat and eating the release. I have had to throw under slot snook almost up on the rocks or back into the mangroves in order to save their life from the imminent Dolphin attack. They are smart and adapt quickly and remember an easy meal.  
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dolphinbait
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies guys. I watched the video Marlin posted and you can definitely see the feeding pattern even if you couldn't see the fish in the water. The fins are circling around and changing directions rapidly to respond to the bait as it changes directions. I really wish I had video of what happened in my encounter because it is unique from what I've seen elsewhere online. The dolphin that came at me did not appear to be feeding or hunting for food in any way, he simply rammed me and then splashed the water with his tail while "huffing" repeatedly. I equate the huffing he was making to a dog growling or a cat raising it's hackles - you definitely got the impression that you were being warned.

As a result of this encounter, I've ordered a new go pro so future exploits can be well documented!
  
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GitsAndShiggles
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is amazing, what a scary/interesting story.  
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goldeneyes
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's common behavior in Fla. Volusia co., mosquito lagoon,,those dolphin follow boats. You literally get a couple of casts and have to move. They rub the boat, if your fighting a fish , they'll get k t if you don't horse em in. I was fishing a dock down by turtle mound and one did the same thing you mention. Up and down beside the dock, blow in in short burst, back and forth. There's a pod that fish in a creek by norwoodss restaurant and one male is real aggressive.  
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glacierbaze
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May be the result of people feeding them at some point, and they learn to expect a handout.  
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