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Discussion Starter #1
Don't know if anyone's ever seen a sunfish, but one beached itself near the first set of pilings south of Little Island Pier. The fish most probably got caught up in cold ocean waters and died from it.

Dave Wireman, from the fish intelligence network that I belong to :D , sent in this report this morning. He also reported no bird activity off Sandbridge this morning.

Sharptail Mola (sunfish), Kittyhawk Pier - up to 4400lbs.
 

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thats cool ..not that its dead I mean , just never seen one round here.I wounder how much it weighed, or if there good to eat?
 

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You know that's odd last week while I was down there I saw some huge jellyfish on the beach. Not unusual in the summer, but Dec.- insert "Twilight Zone" music here.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Two species of sunfish frequent our waters.

These fish are true giants. There probably is not a larger fish than this in our waters.

According to "Atlantic Coast Fishes, by Robins/Ray/Douglas", The Sharptail Mola is 10' long & 11.25' high; and the Ocean Sunfish - 10' long & 11' high. These fish weigh up to 4400lb and are super strong swimmers. They eat jellyfish and other soft
bodied ocean critters.

BobN that the jellyfish you found on the beach, and now this sunfish - it does not surprise me - they eat the things.

In the summertime the can often be seen skying several feet out of the water, landing with a large splash. They are often seen in our area.

The fish beached at Sandbridge is a small one, 150 - 200lbs.

My personal observation of one occurred why fishing the Rodanthe Pier which I estimated is weight to be at least 500lbs. The one picture here was taken from the Kittyhawk pier this past summer by Rolland Jonhson.

I have never heard of someone eating one, and the book does not state whether they're edible or not.

Lou
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh shoot! Looking at the book I suddenly realized that the picture I have posted on this thread is most probably one of a Sharptail Mola! I had it incorrectly identified as an ocean sunfish. O.k., now that I am smart I have gone and edited the name to correctly name the fish!

The book describes the Sharptail as being, "Dark gray throughout, somewhat paler below..." which the fish I have illustrated here is.

It also describes the Ocean Sunfish as being, "Dark brownish gray throughout..." which the fish I have illustrated here is not.

Lou
 
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I saw a late night show on the Discovery Channel about a person who studies them. I think she was working off New Zealand though. Evidently they dive really deep at times and on sunny days they will roll on their sides to bask as much surface area as they can. It's also probably the dumbest fish out there.
 

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I have seen sunfish several times while surfing in hatteras. They were just cruising around in the shallow water, right where we were surfing. I was told that they were in shallow because of the warm water. Pretty cool creatures though, it's a shame to here one has died.
 

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Yup, That's the critter Lou. Just got a chance to read the board. This guy's about 4x4 feet counting the fins. First saw him Sun. and have been on the beach every day since. In that time the only part the birds have found tasty are the eyes and gills. I was down there this A.M.(Jan. 1) and he's still intact. Suggest to anyone who hasn't seen one up close to go take a look. Quite an interesting looking animal.
 

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That's interesting that VB authority has not buried the fish in the sand for later excavation when they can remove it.
From my understanding, that's common practice for sea turtles and porpoise that wash up on the beach. I'm not sure if that applies to all sea creatures.
This past summer, I went for a dawn patrol surf @ N. Sandbridge/Dam Neck and I saw the Beach Waste Management personnel (the folks that pick up the trash on the beach) drag and bury a huge sea turtle. I was curious and called the city to tell them what I witnessed. They said it was the routine for them to bury the turtles until the research team can examine and dispose to the animal.
 

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I'VE SEEN MY SHARE OF THESE THINGS OVER THE YEARS AND I'VE NEVER SEEN ONE JUMP. I ALWAYS THOUGHT THEY COULDN'T EVEN GET OUT OF THEIR OWN WAY UNTIL I FOUL-HOOKED ONE TROLLING FOR BLUEFINS. THESE GUYS CAN HOLD THEIR OWN.
 
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