Watch a Giant Humpback Whale Nearly Launch Itself On Top of a Fishing Boat
A father-son fishing duo from New Jersey had a shockingly close encounter with a breaching humpback whale earlier this month
Several fishermen recently had one hell of an experience off the coast of New Jersey. While fishing in an 18-foot boat, Zach Piller and his father witnessed a 50-foot humpback whale breach nearly on top of the boat. A viral video shows the close encounter, which happened in early October.
Piller’s dad was reeling in his catch while Zach was recording a video with his phone. The footage shows his father’s rod bending—then you see the water explode with some baitfish, followed by a giant whale. After breaching, the whale nearly lands on top of the anglers’ comparatively small boat. And the anglers react accordingly. Be warned: The language in the video is colorful, to say the least. See it for yourself below.
“This whale just happened to chase bait fish right next to a boat,” Eric Otjen, SeaWorld San Diego vice president of zoological operations told NBC. “The feeding part is common. Being that close to the boat is not. You probably have a better chance of winning the lottery. It popped up where it popped up.”
That said, there have been more humpback whales along the Jersey shore during the fall in recent years. Humpback whales, which weigh around 40 tons, are staying on the east coast for longer periods of time, possibly motivated by the availability of Atlantic menhaden—a key forage species. According to the NOAA, menhaden are one-pound fish measuring 15 inches in length that swim in large schools close to the surface. Whale collisions with boats are extremely rare but they can occur—and they can prove deadly. In this case, nobody was injured, and Zach’s father even kept the fish he was fighting on the line.