OUTDOORS

Sailfish in harbor causes a stir

TINA HARBUCK
The sailfish buzzed around the harbor for about 15 minutes.

Sailfish at the sea buoy or just off the beach are not uncommon, but a sailfish in the harbor is another story.

But it's not just a story — a sailfish about 2- to 3-feet long was causing quite the stir along the harbor Tuesday afternoon.

Matthew Borbely, who works in the New Florida Gir's American Spirit booking booth next to AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar, saw a couple of guys running down the docks with fishing rods in hand. So he decided to follow and check it out.

Much to his surprise, there was a small sailfish circling in the water between AJ's and Galati's.

"I've never seen anything like it," Borberly said. "The water was clear, it was cool as heck."

The sailfish was so close, "You could have reached down and grabbed it," Boberly said.

Destin Fishing Rodeo weighmaster Bruce Cheves was also on the docks when the sailfish appeared on the scene.

"It was just buzzing around, making big circles around that area," Cheves said.

"I don't know if he was confused or lost. It didn't eat any bait fish but it made a few swats at them," Cheves said.

"It was cool for all the people to see," he said.

Cheves said the last time he saw a sailfish even close to the harbor was back in the late ‘80s when he saw one about a foot long near the old Marina Pointe at the west end of the harbor.

"You never know," Cheves said. "Everything has got a tail and can go wherever and whenever it wants."

Jim Roberson of the International Game and Fish Association said he raised a couple of sailfish at the sea buoy just a couple of weeks ago.

He said it's not unusual for the sailfish to be in close.

As for the one in the harbor, Roberson said, "We've had a large push of offshore water," which could have pushed the little sail into the harbor.