November 12 was a day like any other for Austin Ensor and his buddies when they hit the water of Ocean City, Maryland, to extend their fishing a little bit further into the fall.
But for a day that started off normal definitely didn’t end that way, as Ensor reeled in a rare fish for the area the likes that most had never seen before.
Shortly after catching an 80-pound swordfish, an opah (also called a moonfish) latched on to their bait and the battle began. Finally, after a tug-of-war fight that lasted almost an hour and a half, the 105.4 pound opah was in the boat. That’s when the crew quickly realized they had no idea what the heck they had just landed. Ensor finally clued in:
“The only reason I knew it was an opah is because I follow some friends out on the West Coast and some friends in Hawaii on the big island over there that catch them periodically, and I have seen them in Instagram posts and things like that, and then I saw him come up and I said it’s an opah,” he told Fox5 News.
The opah is the only known warm-blooded fish, generally found mainly in tropical waters. According to Wikipedia, almost nothing is known of opah biology and ecology and they are presumed to live out their entire lives in the open ocean, at mesopelagic depths of 50 to 500 meters. Opah specimens are rarely caught by recreational anglers.
As you can imagine, this rare catch is attracting a lot of attention in the angling world – and so it should, as it is Ocean City’s first ever caught with a rod and reel.
Sidenote: they apparently taste great.
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