I don't make it across the bay to buoy42 very often -- maybe 2 or 3 times a year -- but every time I go I see something unusual. This time was no exception. We left Jackson's Creek around noon on Saturday. Not the optimal time. We drifted 2 or 3 hours picking up a couple croakers and 2 flounder (20"and 21"). Not too disappointing considering the time of day and lack of tide.
Anyway, the interesting sight occurred on our trip from 42 over to Wolftrap for my first ever attempt at Spadefish. About 4 miles from Wolftrap I noticed a massive black head in the water which I assumed was a loggerhead turtle. I slowed the boat to about 1500 rpms to take a closer look. At about 50 yards I panicked for a second thinking no turtle can be that big, so it must be some kind of structure I need to avoid. Then it ducked its head under the water and exposed its back as it went down. Could it be Chessie? Fortunately/unfortunately not. We close to about 25-30 yards when it popped its head back up. This turtle was at least 3 times as big as any loggerhead I've ever seen and had a much darker shell. After searching the internet, I easily figured out that it was a Leatherback turtle -- the world's largest turtle. I got a really good look at it and estimate it at 6 feet and 800 lbs. They are 1 of 5 sea turtle species to visit the Bay though rare for these waters. Has anyone seen one of these Leatherbacks before? Would the VMRC or another organization be interested?
I did manage my first ever spadefish at Wolftrap. It was small, maybe a pound, but a lot of fun. I will try again. The boat next to me in the "sweet spot" caught two in the 7-8 lbs class in about an hour.
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Leatherbacks are rare and huge when compared to other turtles we normally see in the bay. I have only seen 2 in the last several years and always pass on the information. I especially make sure I pass on any turtle sighting when they are close to nets, so someone can make sure they are not tangled.
PS There is one organization that rescues them when they are in trouble, but I have CRS and cannot remember the name.[grin][grin][grin]