A near Fortune catch at Catalina

Parimal M. Rohit

CATALINA ISLAND — Anglers aboard Fortune Sportfishing out of San Diego nearly wrangled aboard an estimated 20-foot long oarfish. The rarely seen fish was spotted in shallow waters off the coast of Catalina in late June.

According to Tish Deering of Fortune Sportfishing, the oarfish was spotted approaching the fishing vessel as anglers were fishing for groundfish in about 30 feet of water. The crew tried to bring the oarfish aboard with a 30-pound test and monofilament but ultimately failed. They tried for a few minutes before letting the oarfish get away.

The oarfish could have been alive as it escaped. No one was sure whether it survived.

Oarfish are elongated pelagic fish generally found in tropical waters and rarely seen in Southern California.

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