Florida puffer fish
Image via staugustine.com

World Record Florida Puffer Fish Released Before Anyone Knew What It Was

It wasn't until they let it go that they learned a Florida puffer fish this big had never been caught before. 

A group of buddies out of St. Augustine, Florida caught something recently that threw them for a loop. As it turned it out, they knew the fish they caught was a big fish, but what it was exactly was a mystery. After a few pictures, they let fish go with nothing left but the story. Coincidently, this is where the story actually begins.

They described the fish as around three feet long and weighing close to 20 pounds. The pictures of the fish circulated through a few groups of scientists and outdoorsmen, and yet still there were no answers as to what it was. Eventually, a Florida biologist identified the fish as a either an oceanic puffer or a smooth puffer. There weren't enough identifiers in the picture of the fish to be sure, but the odds were on the oceanic variety.

This is where things really get wild. The world record for the oceanic puffer fish is only seven pounds. The world record for the smooth puffer is 11 pounds, seven ounces. No matter which species of Florida puffer fish it was, it was undoubtedly a new world record.

As it was reported, these boys were lucky they decided to let this possible record Florida puffer go. It turns out that this fish is one of the most poisonous vertebrates in the world. To put things in comparison, it's poison glands are 1,200 times more deadly than cyanide. 

Here's to catch and release.