Every weekend fisherman has at least one story of an epic, accidental catch — but even among the most imaginative raconteurs, the catch in question falls under the ‘larger than usual, but certainly within the realm of possibility’ category. These amazing snags, on the other hand, are simply unbelievable. Sure, each one actually happened, but would you buy the story if it was your uncle telling it?
1. In May 2013, a German fisherman named Michael Eisele hauled a five-foot, 103-pound cod aboard his vessel off the Norwegian coast. The specimen has been submitted to the International Game Fishing Association as a possible world record — but even if it doesn’t make history, there’s no denying the cod’s massive size. One expert told Daily News America he believed the fish could easily feed 200 people.
2. Earlier this month, Tom Rostron Jr. and Clint Simek were fishing off the coast of Manasquan, N.J., when a fish hopped aboard their 31-foot vessel. Normally this might not be too noteworthy, except the ‘fish’ in question was a 300-pound Mako shark which, upon realizing it was out of water, began thrashing around violently and trying to bite everything/one in sight. In a panic, the men attempted to subdue the creature with broom handles (which, as we all know, is the shark’s most feared enemy); it took them two hours to kill the predator, and by that time the animal had caused more than $5,000 in damage to their boat.
3. Three friends — Robert Benz, Joey Asaro, and Paul Peroulakis — were fishing a few miles off Jensen Beach on Florida’s eastern coast when they spied something floating in the water. To their shock, the unidentified floating object was a giant squid measuring 25 feet in length (which, incidentally, exceeded the boat’s length by two feet). “I didn’t want to leave it out there and just let the sharks eat it,” Benz told Audobon Magazine. The animal died a few hours later, but local marine biologists were able to extensively study the squid. “Because they are so rare, we have so few samples where we get a fresh specimen and can actually do genetic work,” said museum invertebrate paleontologist Roger Portell.
4. For years, England’s Norfolk Lake has been home to a legendary resident: a 115-pound catfish known simply as ‘the Duke’. Numerous fishermen have tried their hand at catching the Duke over the years with little success — but earlier this month, The Huffington Post reported an angler named Rodney Hills finally nabbed the legendary catfish with little more than a chunk of smoked pork sausage. Hills posed with the Duke for a few photos, allowed some local environmental scientists to officially measure the catfish, and then returned it to the murky waters of Norfolk Lake.
5. Pop quiz, hotshot: you’re fishing in a murky Australian river when you happen to snag a crocodile that measures more than two meters in length — what do you do? If you’re Ashley Sala of Queensland, then the answer is simple: you wrap some duct tape around its jaws, transport it back to your home, and let it share a bunk bed with you. Then again, you may not want to take an Aussie’s advice when it comes to dealing with dangerous animals; those blokes tend to be a little less cautious than the rest of us.
6. Dean Corbett, a fisherman from the United Kingdom, stunned the world in 2009 when he landed a conger eel that stretched more than 10 feet in length — as Guardian UK reported, one of the longest specimens on record. In fact, the slippery behemoth was nearly twice as long as the man who caught it. Not one to miss out on a financial opportunity, Corbett sold the eel to someone he knew would get the most out of it — a local fishmonger.