UFO (unidentified feeding object) [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: UFO (unidentified feeding object)

10-11-2012, 08:09 PM
I was on a western RI beach this past Sunday scanning for birds, bait and breaking fish with my binoculars and spotted something that I initially thought was a seal, but soon realized was the triangular fin of a fish or mammal repeatedly emerging from the surface and then submerging again. It was not moving very fast and there were occasionally large swirls around the fin when the creature changed direction. There were some huge schools of bait in the area and the surface was very calm, and this thing was just moving lazily around, apparently snacking on the baitfish. I thought it might be a mola but I've seen molas on a few occasions and the fin and motion was not the same. The fin was more triangular and was not floppping back and forth, but was making more of a porpoising motion, moving vertically up and down while moving slowly forward. I never saw anything except the fin protrude above the surface (i.e., no back, no spray from a blow-hole). There were several boats in the area chasing the small pods of albies or other fish that popped up here and there, and at one point a boat motored past the thing with the fin and I only saw it briefly again after that.

Did anyone else see this and/or does anyone have any thoughts as to what it might have been?


10-12-2012, 01:28 PM
Maybe an ocean sun fish. Sure sounds like it from your description.

10-13-2012, 02:15 PM
Quentin, your description sounds like a mola mola, but if you believe otherwise, then it could be a shark.

10-13-2012, 09:30 PM
I looked up some images of molas and some do have fins shaped more like what I saw the other day. The molas I've seen in the past had narrower fins. I guess if it wasn't trying to move around much then the fin might stay in a vertical position rather than flopping from side to side.


10-16-2012, 08:19 AM
Maybe it was a Pilot Whale. They can move slowly and certainly have a porpoising movement.

10-16-2012, 08:10 PM
Never seen a live mola/ocean sunfish but the first time I visited the Cape (1999) there was one stranded on the beach at Sandwich. It was high up the beach & had obviously been there since the last storm. Too smelly to examine very closely!

10-19-2012, 07:48 AM
When an ocean sunfish is on the surface they turn sideways (perpindicular to the surface) so that their pectoral fin breaches. The fin flops back and forth like a bonefish's or redfish's tail fin when they're tailing. From a distance it can look like a shark fin I imagine since few other fish expose fins above the water's surface.

10-19-2012, 01:40 PM
Q - doesnt sound like a mola because of the surge motion and no side flops, curious of find out when you figure it out

10-20-2012, 05:13 PM
We may never know for sure what it was. I was hoping someone on the board was on one of the boats and got a better look at it.