Some teenage boys have to stretch for stories to impress girls, but Parker King is set for life with the ultimate fishing story after a 5-foot barracuda jumped into his father’s boat “like a torpedo” on Sunday and slashed his arm and chest open.
Parker and his dad Irwin King, both of Port Orange, share a love of fishing. They got up early Sunday and headed out into the Atlantic Ocean to take advantage of the brief red snapper season and catch whatever else they could.
After each catching a snapper, they noticed a swimming barracuda and decided to try to catch it, which the family had done before without incident. But, while the boy changed the hook on a rod, the barracuda took the bait his father offered.
“He set the hook and the barracuda swam around the motor, then all I heard was ‘watch out,’ ” the 13-year-old said. As he threw his hands up over his head, the fish “shot up and launched into the boat.”
“It came up like a torpedo out of the water,” he said. “It nailed me.”
The barracuda’s razor-like teeth left a long, deep gash under his arm and across his chest and two deep cuts on his arm.
Parker, a student at Creekside Middle School, retold the story from his hospital bed at Halifax Health Medical Center on Monday night as he recovered from two surgeries to repair all the damage done by the fish. He wound up with 27 staples and 17 stitches.
As soon as the fish hit him, Parker said his father wrapped a towel around his arm and chest to stop the bleeding, then headed for shore as fast as he could. It was a long and scary ride.
“I looked at Dad and said, ‘Dad, I’m gonna die,’ ” Parker recalled.
“No, you’re not. Calm down,” his father replied.
“The whole time, I was just praying I would make it back,” Parker said.