This isn't going to be long and elegant(eloquent in NJSM speak)...but one of the weirdest things i've seen come up are mantis shrimp. Looks like an aquatic mantis with a lobster tail looking lower half, and apparently their lancer looking arms are strong enough to break aquarium glass. Toadfish are weird and spiny too...
lol sniffer...any correlation with your screen name? i prefer salt water fishing and have caught my fair share of blues and stripers but nothing special like 40 or 50 lb. one time, i was fishing a pond with my buddy and he netted a big eyed herring or something (it was posted not to catch those herring but he did anyway) and he then rigged it and threw it out with a bobber for the hell of it. he caught like a 9 lb largemouth with that illegal little bait fish. he would have got a MA pin but didnt want to bring it in with the bait in its stomach!
I once caught a rod and reel while fishing off a bridge piling. It was a cheap south bend spinning combo. I took it home and put the reel in a bucket of fresh water for a couple of days, cleaned it up and kept it. about a week later im checking the surf on the jetty where i lived and found a Atoms popper hooked on some mussels. I took it home tied it on to the set up that i just cleaned up, walked back to the jetty and after just a couple of casts caught a nice sized bass. The next day i caught another and while bringing it in i had a flip flop blow out and fell off the jetty into chest high water. I still have the picture in my head of the people faces as I waded out of the water fully clothed with the fish. The reel didn't last much longer the gears went but I still have the pole. I use it to snag bunker.
We were sharking about 22 miles offshore and having a decent day. Had a small mako and a nice one that spit the hook while jumping like crazy. There was non stop blue sharks as well, which are a nuisance but we had 2 1st timers so they were just stoked on seeing a shark up close.
About 2 hours in it went dead. We went from multiple bent rods to nothing, which is weird. Normally once you have the blue sharks there you can't get rid of them...
Then the fin came up. We knew immediately it was a white and it was big. It slowly cruised up the slick right to the boat and grabbed the chum bag. Two head jerks and the bag was gone. To see that head up close and the power when it clamped down was incredible. I knew how big and powerful they were from TV, but to see it up close was insane. I NEVER want to see that when I'm in the water.
It swam around the boat for 5 more minutes then disappeared. Two things I noticed were how massive it was and graceful at the same time. It's really scary to see how stealth it moved in and out without being noticed.
That was 5 years ago and I have seen it every year since (except this year) at the same time of year in the same area. It's crazy how territorial they are. It sucked that it didn't come back this year because I had a GoPro on a stick to get some underwater footage.
Shark was approx. 18-20 feet.
Dad and I used to go fishing out of Morehead City every other weekend when I was a kid. We'd run up to Hatteras at least once a year too for a week and hit the gulf stream for marlin. Caught a white when I was 12, I was a skinny little sh!t and was harnessed to the reel. It almost pulled me overboard. My uncle grabbed me and my brother tied me to the chair. I think it took like 45mins to get it up where we could release it.
Seen all kinds of stuff. Had huge manta ray jump 2x and land so close if it had jumped a 3rd time would have landed inside the boat. We watched it cruise right under, come out the other side, then launch again.
Drifted through a school of spinners once, literally hundreds of them flying out of the water all over feasting on a school of menhaden.
Had a 14t hammerhead cruise beside us for about a half hour once so close I could have reached out and touch the fin. The eye freaked me out though the way it was staring at me and I chickened out.
Sat up on the bow while we were running in one day and had a dolphin play in the bow wave for over an hour. Tried really hard to touch it with my foot but it was always just out of reach.
I used to love to jump in with my mask when we were drift fishing and take pics when we were landing something (Dad had a camera store so he got cool gear including underwater housings). Have pics of sharks, mahi, kings, etc. Was cool when pods of dolphins would come by and I'd dive in and watch them pass. Had a pod one time come right past me and in perfect synchronization turn over and show their belly, then did a corkscrew the other way, then disappeared out of sight. Looked just like they were waving to me.
Dad caught about a 8ft hammerhead off Wrightsville one day. He tail ropes it and then drags it up on the transom wraps it on a cleat, and wraps the leader around the other cleat. Then he gets out the billy club and starts beating the crap out of the thing. And keeps beating it. After a while we're starting to think Dad has gone pyscho but he keeps telling us these things are damn near impossible to kill. Finally after threats that he's scarring us for life he stops and steps carefully on the transom. Soon as he touches the leader the thing freaks. My Dad was a big guy and I've never seen him move that fast in my life, literally jumped backwards into the boat. The shark snaps the leader, snaps the tail rope, flops off, circles the boat 3x, then comes straight up out of the water. I remember seeing the white underbelly and the T head sticking straight, then sank back down and disappeared. Dad gives us the "I told you so" speech.
Cool thread, really brought up a bunch of good memories of fishing with Dad. Many many more but I don't have time to go into it now, and to be honest I'm getting a lil bit emotional about it. His ashes are in the ocean now, as mine will be one day. RIP Pops...so long and thanks for all the fish(ing).