By Luke Voogt
A pair of playful dolphins splashed about in Corio Bay on Sunday afternoon, captivating local anglers.
“They came so close!” said Keeky Liew, who was fishing on the small pier near The Carousel.
“If they had been any closer, we could have reached down and touched them.
“My first reaction was, ‘this is the most incredible thing.’ I’d never seen dolphins before – it was so exciting!”
“It was a magical experience. They’re beautiful creatures.”
At first Keeky was unsure if a splash in the distance was a dolphin or fish coming in with the tide.
But then, a dolphin surfaced much closer to her, followed by its companion, and passed under the pier.
“They seemed very friendly and didn’t seem too scared to come quite close to where they knew people were,” Keeky said.
“It seemed like they were having a great time eating some fish and showing off in front of everybody.”
After a luckless fishing session, Keeky began reeling in pinkie snapper as the dolphins frolicked around the bay for about an hour.
“And after the dolphins left, we just started getting bite after bite of trevally!” she said.
“I think they were taking advantage of what we were doing. It was like they were using us as additional members of their team.”
Local dolphin expert James Murphy said the dolphins had probably chased a school of pinkie snapper into the bay.
James, who runs tour group Sea All Dolphin Swims, said using humans and other animals, such as seals, to hunt fish was common behaviour for the intelligent creatures.
“We’ve had occasions where they’ve used our boat as a wall.”
The pair, most-likely bottlenose dolphins, were likely using the pylons to help corner fish, he said.
“Or the fish could be using the pylons to get away from the dolphins.”
In about a month, anglers will see dolphins move out of Corio Bay to Queenscliff to chase snapper and southern calamari, according to James.
Anglers accidentally snaring a dolphin was “not impossible but highly-unlikely”, he added.
“They’re incredibly intelligent and for them to fall for a human bait they’d have to be extremely unlucky.”