“It was total accidental luck,” Jones said, as he recalled the fishing tale on Monday.
He said Loescher pulled a bit on the fishing line and realized it was a lobster — and a really really big one at that. For comparison, Jones said a typical Maine lobster that most people eat is about one to three pounds.
Loescher called his fishing buddy Jones and told him of the catch. The two are old high school buddies and have been working together to run a commercial fishing and deep sea fishing operation for the last few years called Sanctuary Marine Bermuda.
The tale went like this: once Loescher realized he had a big catch, he jumped into the water from the pier because he realized the lobster was snagged. He found that the animal had hooked itself in one of its claws and then gotten tangled in the line and a nearby mooring.
“We were fishing for snapper the day after Hurricane Nicole struck and we hooked this massive lobster instead,” Jones said Monday after they had posted pictures of the giant lobster catch on Facebook.
Once the lobster was on the shore, Loescher got it untangled and unhooked from the line. And then they weighed it on a digital scale.
“It came in right on 14 pounds,” Jones said. Then they measured its legs. Outstretched, they were two feet long.
Jones said he tried to call a cousin who is a marine biologist and works at the local aquarium but couldn’t reach him. And he tried a few other fishing experts but time was running short.
“I tried a few other people before deciding the best thing we could do was get it back in the ocean before it got too weak,” Jones said.
Jones said he’s been fishing in the Bermuda waters since he was a young teen and has seen a few large lobsters, weighing about 10 or 11 pounds. But nothing like this one.
Another rare thing about their big catch, according to Jones, is that most large lobsters are a dark purple in color. This one was red.
Where they were fishing it is not legal in Bermuda to catch lobsters. But if it had been caught legally in a lobster pot, Jones said, it likely would not have tasted very good. Lobster meat is sweeter, he said, when the lobster is smaller and a more normal size.
Craig Trott, a marine and fish expert with the Bermuda government, said in an email that a 14-pound lobster is “huge, but not unheard of.”
“Lobsters are fantastic nocturnal predators in their own right, and it is not unusual for them to take a baited hook,” he said. He has a theory that this size of a lobster may “no longer be engaged in the annual breeding cycle.” Instead, he likely “resorted to ‘retirement'” in the shoreline areas where he can find food and shelter.
One of the biggest lobsters ever caught and recorded by officials was in the late 1970s. It was a 44 pound lobster and caught off the coast of Nova Scotia, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
On the night of the big catch in Bermuda, Jones said they briefly thought about donating it to the aquarium in Bermuda. but he said some lobsters that have been donated in the past have later been stolen out of the tank.
“We decided the best place for him was back in the ocean,” Jones said. “He’s much safer right where he is.”