Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Great Vicious Fish Attack of 2012

Himself in the distance,
before the vicious attack.

It was The Great Vicious Fish Attack of 2012, a day which will live in infamy. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Ask not for whom the bell tolls and call me Ishmael.

To be fair, if the fish were telling his side of the story, it would be The Great Vicious Human Attack of 2012, but it's not my fault fish have no internet access. Or fingers.

Himself and I were swimming around innocently in the Gulf of Mexico in Sarasota, Florida. Which is not Mexico, just to be clear.

We were still close to shore, relishing the after shock of cold water as it began to feel warm and embracing. As I swam out further, I looked back at Himself and saw him standing in about 5 feet of water, holding something under the surface.

Me: "Did you just catch a fish with your hands?"

I have to admit, I felt a rush of love and pride for Himself and his manliness at that moment. The primal part of my brain kicked in and I felt pretty satisfied that I had picked such a mighty hunter and good mate. I wanted to bear his children.

I swam over to him as he held up a dark, wriggly thing out of the water, then threw it back in.

Himself: "Ow! It bit me!"

Maybe it was a good idea to remain childless.

Me: "What was it?"

Himself: "Some kind of vicious fish. It bit me!"

It was swimming slowly in circles in front of us, unperturbed by our presence and kind of confused looking.

Me: "Did it have teeth? Let me see your hand."

There were no marks on his hand. He said the bite felt more like pressure than anything sharp. But vicious pressure.

We looked back at the fish for a closer look and now he didn't seem confused; he was swimming with purpose toward Himself. The vicious fish was about 5 feet inches long, with a kind of flat, wide head and skinny eel-like tail.

He poked his head out of the water and swam right at Himself, like he wanted revenge. Himself danced out of his way and I swam back to shore to get the camera.

At this point you may be thinking I'm cold-hearted to leave Himself in danger while I went to get the tools to document his disembowelment. But even though the fish was obviously targeting Himself, he was doing it slowly. And I still had confidence in Himself's manliness, despite the fact that he screamed like a girl when he got bit.

Plus, I knew it would make a great blog post.

And he was the cutest vicious fish I had ever seen! With little round, tiger-striped eyes and a wispy beard, sticking his head out of the water as if to get a closer look at his prey.

I wanted to video it, but the camera isn't waterproof and the waves were splashing up, so I snapped a few shots, swam back to shore and put it up and ran back to the water.

Himself had led it toward the beach and the waves pushed the fish onto the sand.

Me: "You can't leave him there, he'll die!"

Himself: "He bit me!"

Me: *evil stare*

Himself: "Oh, all right."

Himself waited for the next wave to come over the beached, flopping fish and then pushed it towards the open water, while it was still disoriented. Then we got out of the water before the fish could get his bearings and lock onto Himself again, ready for mortal combat.


The vicious fish that Himself fought with mightily, is a Gulf Toadfish. Male toadfish have special swim bladder muscles that are used to make noises (like a toad) to attract a mate. Ours didn't make any noise. Himself most likely was attacked by a girl toadfish.

 A vicious one.



  1. Everybody know you have to watch out for those GIRL Toadfish!

  2. As I was reading this amazing literary post, I was thiniking that looks like a Toadfish. By golly I was right (according to you), as I have caught many of these fellas. They really do have a vice like bite, though I have never been bitten by one. These photos are of National Geographic quality. Never heard of anyone actually having an en counter with one except on a hook and line.

    1. Now you and Himself can share Great Man of the Out of Doors Fishing stories!

  3. Is it weird that I thought that fish looked like a really fancy sperm?

    Never mind. Don't answer that.

    You're incredibly brave - fish of any kind freak me out, so a revenge-seeking, tiger-striped giant sperm that attacks with vicious pressure would have immediately caused me to do that ugly slo-mo panic run through the water in hasty retreat. You should've seen me when we went snorkeling on our honeymoon and I got caught in a cloud of jellyfish - the boat captain laughed his aft off because he could hear me scream through my snorkel. Anyway, so glad you and Himself lived to tell the tale.

    1. A vicious she-sperm!

      It's not bravery so much as intense curiosity combined with shameless glee that Himself screamed like a girl.

  4. i was thinking it looked like a catfish. but in the gulf?'s a toadfish? do they dig into the sandy bottom? maybe HE stepped a little too close to her nest?

    anyway, good thing they don't have teeth. wouldn't want to be in that water...bleeding...cause the next fish that attacked might have teeth.

    i used to love the ocean. riding the waves. getting sand in places where sand shouldn't go. until i saw jaws.
    i am also still scared when i take a shower & am home alone. 'cause of psycho.

    i am easily impressionable.

    1. I bet Jaws did more to keep people out of the ocean than other movie in history!

      I love swimming in the ocean, the salty water just feels so goooood it overrides my fear.

      Plus, I have faith that sharks don't have ESP because if they did I would have been mauled long ago, since I'm thinking of them the whole time Im in the water.

      I have the same theory of walking around while it's lightning.

  5. That was a baby, the mom and dad were waiting about 10 feet further out from where you were swimming. You are so lucky!

    1. Well ,they weren't very good parents then.

      Although, the little booger took care of herself pretty well!

  6. I find it funny how fish are all big and tough while they are in the water but once you get them out of the water they can't do anything. Sissies.

    1. That was exactly how my husband justified (almost) murdering it!

      I'm glad to have you back. I was debating on calling the police but didn't know how to phrase it exactly:

      Me: I'd like to report a missing person.

      Police: How long has the person been missing?

      Me: Um, I don't know if he is *really* missing, I mean, I'm sure he's real (probably) but he usually leaves funny comments on my blog and he hasn't in a while.

      Police: Ok, crazy lady, we'll get right on that, right after we find the tooth fairy and Bigfoot.

    2. Bigfoot is the real deal!!!

    3. Just seeing if you were paying attention!

  7. Too funny. It always freaks me out when animals and insects don't realize the vast size differential and try to attack. I had a beetle once charge me while I was sitting on the ground. No joke, he looked at me, assessed the situation, and started RUNNING toward me. It actually surprised me so much that I flinched for a second before I squished him. Jerk.

    1. hahaha. Why is nature so belligerent?? And how can I get some of that confindence--without the being squished part.

  8. Love it!! Makes me think of all the times my hubby jumps like a girl when we come across garter snakes -- you know, non-venomous 18" long pacifist snakes? He's terrified. Oh, well -- it's good my kids have one parent who isn't afraid of snakes, right?

    1. We all have our weak spots, don't we? Although it is fun to see a grown man squeel like a girl!!

  9. I love it when my husband gets hurt. It always makes the best stories.

    1. Yeah, there really is no downside. It's funny, it doesn't hurt (us) and we can tell everyone and their brother about it!


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