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Old 11-11-2013, 19:06   #1
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Dinghy punctured multiple times from fish

Hello all. I have never posted a question on here before but I do occasionally browse the different topics. I wasn't sure under what section I should post this question.

Last week I took a quick cruise out to Cape Lookout from Pamlico Sound here in NC at the southern end of the Outer Banks. I spent a couple days just working the boat and all the systems to make sure everything was good before heading south. The few nights that I anchored in the bight, there were schools of fish feeding on the little baitfish under my boat. Every 5 or 10 seconds I would here one hit the hull of the boat as they went after their prey. This went on for hours. Being a fisherman, I caught 2 of these fish but didn't know what they were. Later, after searching the Internet, I believe they were some sort of snakehead fish, an invasive species of fish, or at least that's what they looked like. They were ugly fish and very aggressive with a mouthful of teeth. The next morning, my dinghy was going flat. I didn't tie the two events together til I got back to shore, flipped over the dinghy, and cleaned it to find, not only 6 areas where it had been sliced open, but also found some teeth still imbedded in the rubber.

A few questions that I have. First, has anyone heard of the snakehead fish being in saltwater, and has anyone heard if this happening before or had it happen to them. I was among 8 other boats the 2 nights I was there, and most if the other boats were towing inflatables as well so I don't think mine could have been the only one hit. Had I known that's what caused it, I would have asked one of the other boats. Anyway, just let me know. Thanks for the help.
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:15   #2
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Re: Dinghy punctured multiple times from fish

Cookie cutter sharks? Sounds like their M.O
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:15   #3
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Ribbon fish, aka Atlantic cutlass fish. Prized king mackerel bait, actually. Little gold hooks, a cooler full of brine, $2-5 per fish, unregulated. You were anchored in a gold mine.
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:18   #4
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I'm going to look up a picture of a ribbon fish and let you know.
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:21   #5
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Well thanks for the info. That's exactly what I was catching... Ribbon fish. They were everywhere. Have you ever heard of them hitting a dinghy and deflating it?
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:22   #6
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I should have clarified that I'm a fisherman, but used to fishing the gulf side of Florida around Perry Florida. I'm still learning all these fish.
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:38   #7
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Re: Dinghy punctured multiple times from fish

There was a thread last week or mention in a thread of fish deflating inflatables. Is the problem getting worse?
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:43   #8
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Assuming they were over 24", catch them with cheap gold hooks. Don't touch them. Cut off the hook and drop the fish into an icy brine. Ideally, vac PAC them 1 to a package. Typical commercial version is a 2 pack when they are around 27" including the "whip". That sells for $8-12. Catch some big ones- 30-48" and you are talking $7-10 each. They can be sold from the west delta all the way up the east coast to va. They are quite fragile. Excellent bait for a multitude of fish. The actually lend themselves quite well to sailboat fishing. Speeds around 1-4 knots are excellent. Use a typical snapper jig as a lead hook and add treble hooks to the body. Fragile bastards, though. The silver turns dull and the bellies wash out. Utmost care is required to preserve them. Although I can't imagine a time where this would matter in a sailboat, they are actually pretty hardy in live well.
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:49   #9
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I did a search before but didn't find anything. I'm on my phone so it's tough but I don't have Internet. Anyway, I'm going to start being more careful from now on. I'm headed to Morehead City then onto Saint Augustine Florida but the dingy will be stowed onboard and not towed and hopefully I won't have this issue as I have spent a lot of time in the Gulf. I patched 6 holes, or slices approximately 3/8" long, but there were many more I found that didn't go all the way through but will probably give me problems in the future I'm sure.
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