The one that got (eaten) away

Just about every angler has a story about the one that got away. But even worse might be the story about what would probably have been a new world record fish that got eaten before it could be certified.

One of my favorite bloggers is Daniel Xu, who writes for the Outdoor Hub. He always has great stories that inspire me to get outside more often.

But once in a while, he has a story that just makes me cringe. He posted one of those last week.

He wrote about a fisherman who was competing in a tournament down near Costa Rica. The angler, Dennis Tilden, landed a Mexican barracuda that weighed just short of 32 pounds. This was a whopper of a fish.

Tilden was obviously happy about his catch, but he had no idea it was a potential record. When he got the barracuda onto the boat, he just thought it was a big one. He didn’t know it was probably THE big one.

And knowing barracuda taste pretty dang good if they’re cooked quickly after they’re caught, he took it straight to the chef at the resort where he was staying. It was only after the fish was gutted, filleted, and prepared that somebody finally checked the record books.

It turns out the current world record barracuda was 28 pounds. If Tilden’s scale was accurate, his fish would have beat the record by almost four pounds. Even if his scale was a bit off, he probably still would have had the world record.

But you can’t certify a fish after it’s been chopped up and served with a side of mashed potatoes.

That’s got to be an even worse feeling than watching the biggest fish you’ve ever caught leap out of the water, then immediately spit the hook out of its mouth and swim away. Tilden actually landed his fish, weighed it, posed for a picture, then ate that sucker. But I’ll bet it was tasty. At least, I hope it was.

But I’ll bet Tilden still had some world-record heartburn after that meal.