Whales in the gulf: While anchored and amberjack fishing about 30 miles off Honeymoon Island last week, a humpback whale came racing toward the boat. It was about 30 feet long and amazingly fast. I noticed it almost frolicking about 100 yards away. After a few surface splashes, it revealed its giant rudderlike pectoral fin, then rolled to the surface and raced toward the boat. Huge boils in the water followed its tail. The water churned for 50 yards back and had a spread of more than 20 feet. The whale swam over the anchor line, then it sounded under the boat for about 20 seconds. It came up and showed its humplike back and low-profiled dorsal fin repeatedly.
Excitement for the entire crew: Everyone on the boat watched the whale swim away, wanting nothing more to do with us. It came to the surface four more times before disappearing into the deep water.
A rare treat: Whales are not common in our gulf waters, especially only 30 miles from shore. Four years ago we witnessed a similar encounter with a humpback whale. I stared into this whale's eye for 10 seconds, then it swam away from under the boat.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.