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Fishing Guide Lands the Moon—a Moonfish, That Is

Lance Peterson

For Lance Peterson, May 20 will be remembered as the day he snagged the moon—actually an opah, also known as a “moonfish.”

Lance Peterson, a fly fishing guide in the East Cape region of Baja California Sur, was kayak fishing on the Sea of Cortez when he spotted something bobbing in the water.

“There were absolutely no rods or reels or fish tackle of any kind involved—just a kayak and a gaff,” says Peterson. “We spotted it bobbing around offshore, confirmed it with binoculars and then went out to fetch it. It was dead when we got to it.”

Peterson says the fish had no injuries or other indications as to how it died. He estimates the moonfish weighed about 100 pounds.

“I cannot imagine how it died,” he says. “The flesh looked spectacular. I spent hours filleting it.”

Opah are rarely caught by anglers. The fish live between 300 and 1,200 feet in tropical and temperate waters. Since the fish don’t school, there isn’t a commercial fishery for it.

However, longliners sometimes catch the fish, and it is popular in restaurants in Hawaii.

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Fishing Guide Lands the Moon—a Moonfish, That Is