Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Unexpected Visitor: Three Anglers Flee as 'Cuda Leaps into Boat

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Unexpected Visitor: Three Anglers Flee as 'Cuda Leaps into Boat

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE JULAVITS

Anglers dream of those days when "the fish are jumping in the boat." But what jumped into Mitch Cooksey's boat last Sunday was a bad dream that couldn't end soon enough.

Cooksey and his crew on the Strike Zone 2 -- Bill Kerr and Rob Reilly -- were trolling near Blackmar's Reef, about 30 miles off Mayport. Cooksey had heard reports earlier in the week that the barracudas were fired up in the waters surrounding the reef.

"We were letting out a pogy [bait] outside the boat, and this big old 'cuda skyrocketed," Cooksey said. "He snatched the pogy clean off the hook, came out of the water with the pogy in his mouth, then bounced off my T-Top into the boat."

The Strike Zone 2's T-Top is at least 8 feet high. The estimated 40-pound barracuda, bearing rows of those famous razor-like teeth, almost cleared it.

"He fell in the boat at our feet and then proceeded to wreak havoc,'' Cooksey said. "We were all shook up. It was bedlam. …

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