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Jumping Fish

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Magikarp used Splash! But a cool freeze frame happened!
Piccolo: Is it over?
Vegeta: Not til the fish jumps!
[Fish jumps]
Vegeta: It's over.

Simply put, jumping fish is the presence of fish indicated by having one or more fish literally "jumping" out of a source of water (lake, river, etc.), especially when the characters suggest looking for food. These fish often soar two or three times their body lengths straight up before splashing back into the water, for no other reason than to advertise their presence.

In Real Life, most fish do not jump out of the water or, if they do, emerge only an inch or two to catch prey just on the surface. However, this can be used as a visual shorthand, to quickly show not only that there are hungry fish to be caught but also to cut down the time it would otherwise take to see if a body of water actually has any fish in it.

Not to be confused with Jumping the Shark. Or the Flying Seafood Special.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball Z, this happens at the end of movie 7. Vegeta even makes a comment about it in the English dub, after Piccolo breaks the fourth wall (this dialogue wasn't in the original, though).
  • In Monster Rancher, "Undine's Lake", just when everyone is complaining about a lack of food, some fish jump out of the lake, prompting them to start fishing.
  • Pokémon: Magikarp learns both Splash (which is supposed to mean "hop") and Bounce, both a reference to its jumping ability.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin is fishing and a fish jumps out of the lake and bites him on the butt. He then reacts with ire when Hobbes asks if the "fish are biting today".

    Live-Action TV 
  • MythBusters (2017) took on the Silver Carp and investigated if a fish's jump potentially had enough force to kill a water-skier. It turns out a two-pound fish to the face can break your neck.
  • A PBS advertisement from the 90s showed a goldfish watching salmon jumping up waterfalls on PBS, then jumping out of its bowl and making its way from various tiny pools of water as it crossed a busy street before getting into the river. The last shot showed it jumping up a waterfall alongside a school of salmon.
  • On Sesame Street, there was a sketch where Ernie and Bert went fishing and Ernie got fish to jump into the boat by calling them.

    Video Games 
  • ABZÛ: The diver can grab onto any aquatic creature and get them to jump out of the water. There is a trophy for pulling it off with a whale.
  • The Age of Empires series uses jumping fish to indicate fishing locations.
  • Several Mario Kart games have tracks with jumping fish that try to throw off your concentration. They don't actually smack into you, but they do distract.
  • Fortuna from Star Fox features a large body of water from which giant fish leap to attack you and your wingmen.
  • One of the random animations for water hexagons in Age of Wonders 2.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • 'Super Mario Bros.''': Some few levels that feature Cheep Cheeps leaping across the screen in swarms. You can still stomp them, but it's tricky since they move so fast.
    • Super Mario World has a few levels where Mario has to cross a body of water on the backs of dolphins which are leaping out of it.
    • Yoshi's Story : The massive red Blurps will leap from the water in the Jungle Puddle to swallow the baby Yoshi protagonists in one bite.
  • The Chopper robots in the Sonic the Hedgehog series is constantly jumping out of the water — though, of course, those aren't really fish.
  • Downplayed in Ace Fishing. The fishes don't jump out of the water willy-nilly, but if your catch doesn't appear out in the surface at least once while you're reeling them in, you can be quite sure that it's not actually a fish.
  • The Blue Marlin: In this NES fishing game, marlins and swordfish are the only types of fish that periodically leap out of the water once you've hooked them.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The Sims 3 indicates fishing spots by having multiple fish constantly jumping just above the surface.
  • Adventure Island has waler. It's a fish that jumps out of water.

    Web Original 
  • In the Strong Bad Email "lures and jigs", Strong Bad causes fish to jump into his boat by singing.

    Western Animation 
  • In a Porky Pig comic, Porky and his nephew Cicero bathe three large, flea-covered dogs in the lake, causing the fleas to scatter. The lake's fish immediately jump to eat the fleas, attracting the attention of nearby fishermen.
  • Seen on a Barney Bear cartoon. The fish disappear when a duck flies in to give Barney trouble.

    Real Life 
  • Theme park example: a pond in Disneyland's Frontierland has mechanical fish that periodically jump.
  • Various types of Flying Fish jump out to avoid predators, some of which can reach a height of 6m and travel 400m out of water.
  • Salmon are of course known for jumping upstream for breeding, much to bears' delight.
  • Yellowtail Kingfish from the estuaries and coastal waters around Australia are a prized sport and eating fish that grows at least 40 cm long and able to jump up to 1 metre above water. It looks similar to this close relative from the coast of California, but can jump even higher.
  • Asian Silver Carp are known for jumping uncontrollably out of the water as seen here. Oddly, this is a behavior only found in the invasive population in the US, not in wild or domestic populations in Asia.
  • Arowanas are a group of tropical freshwater fishes which are specially adapted to jump straight up from the water and snatch prey - insects, lizards, and even unwary birds or mammals - from low-hanging tree branches.
  • As has been shown in numerous Shark Week specials, great white sharks will attack seals by slamming into them from below with such force that both shark and seal will be launched completely out of the water.
  • Great trevally are tropical marine fish found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. When tropical seabirds like terns are fledging, they will congregate around the islands the birds nest on and will leap out of the water to grab and consume low-flying birds.