BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Over the weekend, a man fishing near the coast of Ocean City came across a rare and unexpected catch.
62 miles off the coast of Ocean City, Austin Ensor, Tommy Clark, James Dozerzbach, and Brian Stewart hooked into the unexpected.
Ensor, the man who actually noticed the catch, realized what the fish was after it had been caught. He yelled to friends on board,”Oh my God! It’s an Opah.”
“I think everybody started catching on once I was saying repeatedly, ‘It’s an Opah,’ and everybody’s mind goes to pictures and things we’ve seen in the West Coast of those Opahs out there. And they’re rare out there for the boats to catch them.”
And in the Mid-Atlantic, it’s not clear if a recreational fisherman has ever caught one before, as Opahs are more common to Hawaii than Maryland.
Ensor’s Opah weighed in at 105 pounds, and took nearly two hours to land:
“Starting up, they knew it would be something different,” said Ensor. “But never in my wildest dreams it would be an Opah.”
It was a rare catch in more than one way. The Opah happens to be the world’s only known warm-blooded fish.
And restaurants pay as much as $7,000 for a single fish, but Ensor isn’t selling, as he can’t without a commercial license.
“We’re going to eat it,” he said.
Chefs familiar with Opahs have passed along some tips.
“The meat’s tense right now. It will actually loosen up and become one of the most tender and best fish you’ve had in your life. Let it set for about four days,” Ensor said.
There should be plenty to go around.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is researching to see if the Opah caught is indeed a first caught for our state.