Man Catches Massive Opah Fish That Breaks World Record

Benjamin Simon - Author
By

Oct. 19 2016, Updated 11:23 p.m. ET

Three talented fishermen from Southern California recently caught a group of gigantic opah fish on a single day.

According to GrindTV, one of those three opah fish weighed 181 pounds, shattering the world record weight by 18 pounds. The opah was caught by recreational angler Joe Ludlow. It’s already incredibly rare than any fishermen should catch one of these giant opah fish, but Joe and his buddies caught three on the same fishing trip.

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All three opahs were caught aboard a luxury long-range sportfishing boat known as the Excel. The boat will take fishermen to Mexican waters for several days at a time. These three anglers left San Diego expecting to reel in some fish just for fun, but instead they got a 181-pounder that could go in the record books. Joe has to submit the fish to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) to confirm that the opah is the heaviest fish to date, but the current opah record is considerably lower at 163 pounds. The previous record holding opah was caught in October 1998 off San Luis Obispo in Central California.

The opah fish, sometimes called the moonfish, is one of the largest and most colorful commercial fish species available in the Pacific Ocean, according to Hawaii Seafood. The opah has a very round profile with crimson fins, eyes encircled with gold and scales speckled with red and white spots.

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The captain of the Excel, Justin Fleck, said that the boat stopped to fish over a school of yellowtail near San Martin Island. That’s when Joe Ludlow and a few other fishermen snagged a bunch of opah fish at the same time. While others were fishing on the surface, five men were dropping their lures into deeper waters. Almost simultaneously, five of the lines caught something much larger and much stronger than a yellowtail. You can see three of the opah fish held as prizes by the anglers in the photo below.

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“The fish were pulling the guys up the rail toward the bow, and back toward the stern, then back to the bow, but they weren’t really taking any line,” said Captain Fleck. “It became a sideshow.”

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After 30 straight minutes of struggling with the record-breaking opah, Joe Ludlow managed to get the fish in the boat. Two others on the line got away and two more slightly smaller opah were reeled in.

“We must have just been in the right place at the right time,” Fleck said. “And we were following IGFA rules.”

For more on fishing, check out The Inquisitr’s last report on a shark attack caused by bait fishing.

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