The two Jamaicans were out fishing on a Sunday morning (November 2013) when they hooked what turned out to be a 900-pound scaleless monster of a fish. The two fishermen, Desmond Phillips and Michael Grant, had never seen anything that looked like their strange, mid-morning catch and at one point were frightened that they’d somehow captured an alien.
The monstrous fish was later identified as a “sunfish”. Not a native inhabitant of the waters along the coast of Bryans Bay in Portland, Jamaica, the sunfish consumes mostly jellyfish, but has a palate for squids, sponges, Portuguese man of war and other various invertebrates.
The Ocean Sunfish (Mola or Mola Mola) is a slow-moving fish that likes to drift along with the ocean currents. While a 900-pound fish is enormous, for this species it’s just a baby. The average adult size of a sunfish is 2,200 lbs. However, the largest sunfish recorded weighed in at 4,927 pounds and was 10 feet long with a whopping 14 foot measurement from dorsal to anal fin (top and bottom fins).
900 Pound Sunfish Not Easy to Wrestle into Small Boat
According to the November 18, 2013 UPI (United Press International) report, the unusual fish frightened Phillips who battled with the fish for almost two hours in his attempt to land the beast.
At one point, while struggling to pull the monster fish into their boat, Phillips suggested they simply release it. But, Grant was determined they were going to take the fish back to port with them. It’s difficult enough to manage 900 pounds between two men, much less a wiggling fish equally determined to regain its freedom.
For nearly an hour, the men fought to pull the fish into the boat and eventually gave up, opting to lash it to the side of the boat. They began towing it home, but the fish was so heavy and still struggling that the boat couldn’t make much progress through the Jamaican waters. They soon decided that the only way to get their catch back home was by getting it into the boat with them.
It took a lot of effort to accomplish this. In fact, the water that flooded over into the boat threatened to sink them. Yet, somehow through sheer will, the two fishermen managed to drag the fish into the boat and at long last head for home to Bryans Bay with their prize.
This wasn’t the first time that such large sunfish have been seen in waters that aren’t their usual route.
Florida Man’s Close Encounter with Large Sunfish
In August 2010, Palm City, Florida resident Ed Rice, his son Daniel and their fellow fisherman Steven Trull were on their way home from St Lucie Inlet when they noticed a large fin breaking through the ocean’s surface.
They sailed in for a closer look and were shocked to find what Rice estimated to be about a 400-pound sunfish with a 4-foot breadth. They weren’t able to determine the fish’s length, but it was truly a large fish.
While such sightings of sunfish are rare, the fish is seen by fishermen when large schools of jellyfish venture into the tropical waters. In 2010, unusually large schools of jellyfish swam through the tropical ocean off the coast of Florida. Incredibly, large fish are more common in the world’s oceans than most people realize. Such oversized fish were often considered sea lore or even myths centuries past. With the help of technology through digital cameras and instant communication, many of those myths are being proven to be real life stories of amazing ocean inhabitants.