Eric Cheng

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Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus albicans) hunt a ball of sardines

Tony Wu, Sterling Zumbrunn and I have just returned from our first day out on the water looking for Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus albicans) with Keen M International. We had great luck and dropped into the water with two schools of sailfish hunting sardines. Both schools numbered more than 25 individuals -- and those were just the ones we could see at once.

Sailfish took turns approaching the baitball of sardines, slashing individual fish with their bills and wounding them enough to separate them from the safety of their school. Isolated sardines were consumed within seconds by sailfish moving at incredible speeds. In some cases, the sailfish would actually spear sardines instead of slashing at them -- the precision with which they hunt is truly awe-inspiring.

Now all we need is for the sun to come out!

As a bonus, here is a timelapse of Tony and me setting up our cameras. Exciting, I know.