Group hooks huge lobster
A group fishing for grey snapper caught more than they were expecting — a massive 14lbs spiny lobster.
Captain Matthew Jones of Sanctuary Marine Bermuda said: “It was the biggest lobster I have ever seen. The biggest lobster a lot of people have ever seen.
“The only other one I have seen of similar size came from back when there were lobster pots out there on Challenger Banks, and those were deep blue with shorter legs. This one had long legs — about two feet.”
Mr Jones said that he and Tristan Loescher were handline fishing off the rocks using live white grunt when they inadvertently hooked the massive crustacean.
Mr Loescher said he initially thought they had hooked a fish and swam out to untangle the line from a mooring, only to discover the unexpected catch.
“I shone my light on it and I knew it was big, but I had no idea how big it was until I got it out of the water,” he said. “He was hooked right on the tip of his toe.
“I have been diving for about 15 years now, and this was the largest lobster I had ever seen.”
After pulling the lobster to the surface, he said he removed the hook, took a few quick photographs, and returned it to the sea floor.
“A lobster that size must be old and a rare specimen,” he said. “I was thinking about donating it to the aquarium but no one was answering their phone and I wanted to get him back in the water before anything could happen to him.
“Plus a lobster that size is probably not as tasty as a smaller one, so I had no intention of keeping him.
“He was a bit tired. I swam with him for about 15 minutes after putting him back until he jetted off.”
He added that he was happy to be able to take a few pictures of the creature for the Sanctuary Marine Bermuda Facebook page to share the experience, and he was amazed by the reaction from the public.
Mr Jones said that while it is rare to catch a lobster while fishing, it does happen on the odd occasion that the hook happens to catch a joint or another soft spot between the pieces of the animal's hard shell.
“They are nocturnal, so if you are out night fishing it happens on occasion,” he said. “Maybe once every year or two, and they are usually pretty big lobsters, maybe 10lbs or so.”
Asked if the hurricane might have brought the animal closer to shore, he said it was one of several possibilities.
“It was a male. Craig Trott over at the fisheries department said he thought the males come inshore to retire,” he said. “I think the hurricane may have played a part. There are videos of lobsters marching inshore with the storm.”
He also noted that black grouper — who prey on lobster — seldom come close to shore.
“It's probably a combination of those reasons that brought him in,” he said.