An opah, similar to this one, was caught over the weekend off Ocean City, in what is being described as a rare event. Photo credit: NOAA (NOAA photo)

Over the weekend, in what appears to be an unusual, perhaps unprecedented event, a Maryland fishing party reeled in an opah off Ocean City.

An opah is denizen of the ocean depths that some people versed in the region’s fishing lore, say has not often if ever been caught off Maryland.

“This is definitely the first ever caught out of Ocean City on rod and reel said Scott Lenox, who appears thoroughly acquainted with the Ocean City fishing scene.

On his Fish in OC website he is described as host of Ocean City’s fishing television show Hooked on OC.

It also says he has worked in the fishing industry and fished the waters in and around Ocean City for over 25 years.

Lenox wrote that Austin Ensor, captain of a vessel called Primary Search, along with , James Doerzbach, Brian Stewart and Tommy Clark fished the Poor Man’s Canyon on Sunday where they snagged “this absolutely beautiful 105.4 pound opah.”

A large-eyed creature, the opah seems to be rather flat, in the flounder fashion, with gleaming round iridescent flanks that are almost circular in shape. They are said to be good to eat.

Reasons for the paucity of opah catches were unclear. Reference works suggest that they are found on this side of the Atlantic Ocean in tropical to temperate waters from Newfoundland to Argentina.

It has also been reported that opahs are rarely hooked by those fishing for sport. One report said they are known to dive to depths of 900 feet or more. That may explain why they are seldom found during sportfishing trips.

In a scholarly paper, it was reported that the spotted species of opahs are commonly harvested off Hawaii, but seem to be considered rare by other specialists in fish.

In the report, posted online by the Icthyological Society of Japan, the coloration of the opah was described as vermilion, with white spots.

That seemed consistent with photographs of the Ocean City opah, which were posted online.

A report posted three years ago on the World Fishing Network website , telling of an opah catch in Pacific Ocean waters off Mexico said opahs “are rarely caught by sport fishermen.”

It was not immediately clear what was done with the opah reeled in off Ocean City.