A Hawaiian man caught a huge octopus that broke a state record that had stood for more than 20 years.
Michael Matsunaga, from Wahiawa on the island of O’ahu, made the catch on the morning of August 30 in the waters off Turtle Bay, HawaiiNewsNow reported.
At the time, Matsunaga was bottom-fishing, a technique that involves the angler dropping the bait all the way down to the bottom of the water column to target fish that live on or near the ground.
The 69-year-old had dropped his bait—consisting of fish and squid—down to a depth of around 400 feet when he noticed something on his line.
“It felt like it was stuck,” Matsunaga told HawaiiNewsNow.
A struggle then ensued to haul the giant octopus up onto his boat. But that was only part of the challenge for Matsunaga, who said the biggest battle was dealing with the octopus once it was on the boat.
“He has eight legs. I get two arms. I kind of put him in the cooler. But he tried to get out everything. I finally got him in the cooler. And then I had to sit on the cooler because he was kinda of lifting me up,” he said.
Matsunaga then took the creature to be weighed at Hana Pa’a Fishing Co. with the scale showing a reading of 25.95 pounds—a state record for largest octopus caught.
The previous record was held by the 69-year-old’s brother, Stewart Matsunaga, who caught a 19-pound octopus off Kaʻena Point, O’ahu, in 2000.
In Hawaii, octopus is commonly referred to as “tako”—the Japanese word for the animal. Tako is a common ingredient in poke, the popular seafood dish that is a mainstay of Native Hawaiian cuisine.
But Matsunaga said he probably wouldn’t be making tako poke with the octopus, and instead was planning to boil it in beer “one leg at a time”.
There are two octopus species that are commonly found in Hawaii—the day octopus (Octopus cyanea) and the night octopus (Octopus ornatus). Both of these species are relatively small, usually reaching a maximum arm span of two-to-three feet and weighing around 10 pounds, according to the Waikiki Aquarium.
This pales in comparison to the largest known octopus species the world—the giant Pacific octopus—which is found in the northern Pacific from Japan to Alaska and California.
On average, these octopuses weigh around 110 pounds, and measure 16 feet across as fully grown adults, according to non-profit ocean conservation organization Oceana. But the biggest giant Pacific octopus on record weighed 600 pounds and measured around 30 feet across.