Rookie Angler Catches “Unicorn”

Demonstrating remarkable beginner’s luck, an inexperienced fisherman successfully captured a potential world-record fish (an incredibly uncommon occurrence) on his inaugural fishing expedition. Beau Leaman, on August 8, accompanied by his friends on an overnight charter off the shores of San Diego, achieved the feat of reeling in a massive moonfish weighing 188.6 pounds. Leaman’s catch is poised to surpass the existing all-tackle world record by over 7 pounds. He has already filed the necessary paperwork with the International Game Fish Association.

Leaman and his companions made a reservation for an expedition through Horizon Charters, embarking on the MV Horizon vessel for a fishing adventure. Equipped with rented fishing rods, they engaged in casting jigs into waters as deep as 300 feet, specifically targeting tuna. In an unexpected turn of events, while they were in the midst of this activity, Leaman’s fishing line suddenly became taut. However, contrary to the usual behavior of tuna that would swiftly dash or descend into the depths, the caught fish did not display such typical actions.

“He was fishing pretty deep and at first thought he was stuck on the bottom,” Capt. Bill Wilkerson told reporters.

About 45 minutes elapsed before a fatigued Leaman successfully maneuvered the peculiar, oval-shaped fish to the boat’s edge. At that point, Wilkerson’s team skillfully employed a gaff to secure the fish. Amidst jubilant cheers and celebrations over this extraordinary catch, they discerned that the moonfish (referred to as an opah as well) exhibited a sequence of circular bite marks on its flanks. These marks were evidence of the Cookiecutter Sharks’ nibbling as they engaged in the prolonged struggle.

“Once it was on the boat, I think most of us were in dismay” said Leaman. “From the shark bites on its side, to its blend of orange and red, its tail fin slapping the deck, its massive eyes that don’t seem to do much work … It didn’t look real.”

Demonstrating remarkable beginner’s luck, an inexperienced fisherman successfully captured a potential world-record fish (an incredibly uncommon occurrence) on his inaugural fishing expedition. Beau Leaman, on August 8, accompanied by his friends on an overnight charter off the shores of San Diego, achieved the feat of reeling in a massive moonfish weighing 188.6 pounds. Leaman’s catch is poised to surpass the existing all-tackle world record by over 7 pounds. He has already filed the necessary paperwork with the International Game Fish Association.

Leaman and his companions made a reservation for an expedition through Horizon Charters, embarking on the MV Horizon vessel for a fishing adventure. Equipped with rented fishing rods, they engaged in casting jigs into waters as deep as 300 feet, specifically targeting tuna. In an unexpected turn of events, while they were in the midst of this activity, Leaman’s fishing line suddenly became taut. However, contrary to the usual behavior of tuna that would swiftly dash or descend into the depths, the caught fish did not display such typical actions.Top of Form

“He was fishing pretty deep and at first thought he was stuck on the bottom,” Capt. Bill Wilkerson told reporters.

About 45 minutes elapsed before a fatigued Leaman successfully maneuvered the peculiar, oval-shaped fish to the boat’s edge. At that point, Wilkerson’s team skillfully employed a gaff to secure the fish. Amidst jubilant cheers and celebrations over this extraordinary catch, they discerned that the moonfish (referred to as an opah as well) exhibited a sequence of circular bite marks on its flanks. These marks were evidence of the Cookiecutter Sharks’ nibbling as they engaged in the prolonged struggle.

“Once it was on the boat, I think most of us were in dismay” said Leaman. “From the shark bites on its side, to its blend of orange and red, its tail fin slapping the deck, its massive eyes that don’t seem to do much work … It didn’t look real.”

Wilkerson emphasized the undeniable existence of moonfish, so named due to their compact, circular bodies, and underscored their extreme rarity.

“I have witnessed [opah] being caught three times in 40 years,” Wilkerson explained. “It’s kinda like a unicorn if you will.”

Characterized as an “unusual looking fish,” this species is found in the Pacific Ocean and other temperate oceans spanning the globe. Occasionally ensnared by longliners and other professionals in the fishing trade, these creatures typically weigh approximately 100 pounds and boast a diameter of about 3 feet. Due to their deep-sea habitat, usually residing between 300 to 1,000 feet beneath the water’s surface, there remains limited knowledge about the species. Additionally, instances of them being caught using traditional fishing gear like rods and reels are exceedingly rare.

According to Wilkerson, communication has been established with the International Game Fish Association regarding Leaman’s capture, and there are intentions to file an application for a potential world record.

Source

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