Sailfish Found Swimming Close to Shore

Resident captures rare sight on dock in Naples, Florida

Arlington Zellers sent Marlin a unique experience — so rare that we had a hard time believing it was real until we watched the video. But it's proof that hurricanes can make marine life do strange things.

Zellers and his friend live on a residential canal just off the Gulf of Mexico in Naples, Florida. The day before Hurricane Irma hit the area, they spotted a sailfish in the canal. A sailfish swimming that close to shore in southwestern Florida is nearly unheard of.

"I was moving patio furniture into my garage with a friend when my neighbor called me over to look at this fish," he said. "He said it was a sailfish and my buddy and I looked at each other like he must have been hitting the sauce early."

The trio took video of the sight and returned to finish hurricane preparation at Zellers' house. Hours later, the fish was still swimming in the same spot.

"We called another friend who was down the street, Tyler Fox, who ran right over to see if he could catch him. After about an hour and the fish not wanting to eat, Tyler actually bill-wrapped him," Zellers said. "I wired the fish and we took a couple of quick pictures and then released him."

Zellers said he and his friends "figured that this was a bad omen" regarding the storm. Hurricane Irma, a storm that reached Category 5 strength, resulted in more than 100 fatalities and left millions of people without power in its wake.

"I know big storms do some strange things," Zellers said. "When I got up Saturday morning, the sailfish was still swimming around."