ALACHUA, Fla.- An Alachua man participating in a fishing tournament on the Suwannee River was injured when a jumping sturgeon leaped out of the water and into his boat, striking the man and knocking him unconscious.
Ronald Dick, 62, was fishing just up river from Manatee Springs when the four-to-five foot fish came into the boat. Dick and his son were traveling at about 30 MPH when the fish jumped out of the water ,hitting the boat's windshield and operator, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Dick was taken a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries and released.
“Please don’t think this can’t happen to you, especially if the water levels continue to drop. If you are boating on the rivers during the summer months, there’s a good chance you could encounter a sturgeon jumping out of the water,” FWC Major Andy Krause said.
During 2015, eight injuries and one fatality were reported on Florida rivers from sturgeon strikes.
Researchers say sturgeon jump for two reasons: to fill their swim bladders to maintain neutral buoyancy and communicate with other fish, according to the FWC.
Sturgeon in the Suwannee River can grow to over 170 pounds.