'Killer' catch: Fishermen film rare orca encounter in waters off Niihau

KEKAHA, Kauai (HawaiiNewsNow) - With a fishing line in the water as he made his way from Kauai to Niihau on Sunday, Kyle Ruiz was hoping for a big catch.

Instead of making one with his reel, he made one with his camera.

Ruiz and several friends were aboard a fishing boat when they filmed a pod of what appear to be killer whales about five miles off the coast of Niihau -- a rare sighting of an animal that isn't typically associated with Hawaiian waters.

"First we thought it was false killer whales, but then we seen how big they were and the white on the face," Ruiz told Hawaii News Now. "We knew it was the real killer whale."

In the video, whales with large dorsal fins and white markings around the eyes can be seen breaching waters within about 100 feet of the boat.

Only about 350 killer whales have been spotted in island waters, and they tend to be much smaller than those found in the Pacific Northwest.

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