Rare Mola Mola Fish Spotted In The Puget Sound Caps Off Bizarre String Of Fish Sightings

Mola Mola sunfish

iStockphoto / AlexGoldblum

A rare Mola Mola fish was spotted swimming in Seattle’s Puget Sound by a man named Jonah Zimmerman.

The Mola Mola, or Ocean Sunfish, is a particularly odd-looking fish to see from above. It’s top fin occasionally pops out of the water and to the unaware they might think it’s a shark, in the same way that manta rays are often mistaken for sharks by people who don’t know what they are looking at.

This Mola Mola sighting caps off a weird few weeks of fish sightings in Washington. In the Puget Sound, a bluefin tuna was found washed up on a beach fully intact and not deteriorating yet.

Bluefin tuna are at least a cold water fish so this makes sense in my head, despite it getting lost in the sound when it should be out at sea. What doesn’t really compute in my brain is how an angler just caught a Washington state record Mahi-Mahi, a 21-pound fish caught in Southwest Washington according to Sage Marshall of Field & Stream.

Mahi-mahi, also known as dolphin or dorado, are a pelagic fish found all over the globe but their preferred water temperature is 82 degrees. They can be found in water as cold as 68 but they prefer warm, tropical oceans.

For a 21-pounder to be caught in Southwest Washington blows my mind. It is a new state record:

This Summer’s strong El Niño seems to have flipped the fishing world upside down. The Pacific Coast’s massive marine heatwave can certainly be thanked for the Mahi-Mahi in Southern Washington.

But that doesn’t explain a tarpon being caught across the country in Cape Cod, over a thousand miles north of Florida… It’s been a weird Summer indeed.