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Close Encounter With An Ocean Sunfish

Ryan Collins

September is a fantastic month for spotting ocean sunfish (mola molas) here on Cape Cod.

Mola molas are one of the heaviest known bony fishes in the world, weighing as much as 2,000 pounds!

Back on Sunday September 15th I launched my kayak in Cape Cod Bay and paddled about 1/2 mile offshore to where several molas were "sunning themselves" in the abundant sunshine.

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Click play below to watch a preview of the encounter! 👇

*Members of My Fishing Cape Cod can watch the full 6 minute video and learn more about where this was filmed by clicking here.

Definitely keep your eyes peeled if you hit the beach or head out onto the water anytime over the next few days!

There are definitely lots of molas right now off Cape Cod!

Watch The Full Video!

Members of My Fishing Cape Cod can watch the full 6 minute video of this "mola encounter" and learn where it was filmed by clicking  below.

  1. I was in the Cape Cod Canal last week with my uncle and he thought those were Shark, but watching your drone video I can tell we counts like 16 of them passing by the canal.

    Reply
    1. Yes Fernando, there have been many ocean sunfish in the canal this fall. They do look like a shark at first.

      Thanks for watching the video!

      Reply
  2. How do they get here? Do they drift with the currents or actually propel themselves. My previous misconception was that the fins were in the middle of the body as seen from front to back. As I look at your video I see that the fins do seem to be ingeniously placed towards the rear so that they can provide vertical stability as well as forward propulsion. My recollection is that they eat jellyfish. Do you know if this is true and if so, what kind?

    Reply
    1. They are definitely capable of propelling themselves (sometimes straight clear of the water). They can be surprisingly fast and powerful, but I do think they probably are at the mercy of the great ocean currents, Gulf Stream, Labrador, etc.

      I have read on Wikipedia that they eat jellyfish, but other organisms too. Here is a link. 👍

      Reply
  3. Those fish are the equivalent of the teddy bears of the ocean, they seem so docile and almost lovable. This video and the one of the lighthouse are a pleasure to view.

    Reply
    1. The “teddy bears” of the ocean is a great way to describe them Jane!

      Glad you enjoy the drone videos and say hi to Tom for me!

      Reply
  4. Amazing, to think back in 20s-30s people with pockets full of money would hire guides to take them out ta hunt these fish and to shoot them with shot guns
    Now that’s a sport

    Reply
    1. Wow I wasn’t aware people did that, but it doesn’t surprise me. Same thing happened with the buffalo out west. Fortunately the ocean sunfish population appears to be doing well now, although boat collisions are still a big risk.

      Reply
  5. Great video! Very cool to see this fish up close. Nice peaceful background music! Beautiful day.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for watching Leslie. Definitely a memorable encounter. 😎

      Reply
  6. Terrific film work. It was amazing to see the footage of these unique fish from this perspective. It is just another reason why the Cape is so incredible!

    Reply
    1. You nailed it David, the Cape and its creatures are pretty incredible! You just never know what you may encounter…

      Reply
  7. Amazing that they can jump out of the water.

    Reply
    1. Yes it is! I saw one jump out of the water 4 times in a row during this trip.

      Reply
  8. Ryan, fantastic video with a perfectly clear blue sky day and Cape Cod Bay as the background. Once again, your talents shine and it’s clear you have a new friend!

    Reply
    1. The sunfish definitely appear to be very friendly. I had a second sunfish pop up right next to my kayak and follow me around.

      I also have a friend who was “petting a sunfish” last week while tuna fishing. They are definitely very kind creatures!

      Thanks for watching and commenting 👍

      Reply
      1. I have heard that these fish are covered with bacteria; a real bacteria “stew”. Might not be such a great thing to be petting them. Has anyone else heard or read this? Also wondering if they are falling victim to the Great White population in the area.

        Reply
        1. I’ve never heard of that before David, but thanks for the insight. 👍 I’ve also never heard of any instances of molas being attacked by great white sharks. Seems like boat strikes are of a great danger to molas right now.

          Reply

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