By Jack Rees
A group of amateur anglers were shocked to reel in a 5ft 5in whopper fish so big it BLEW UP their fishing rod.
Fisherman Reece Wepener was fishing off the coast of Jurien Bay, Perth, Australia on Saturday (May 13) when he hooked the gargantuan bass grouper.
The 26-year-old and pals Steve Lennox and Michael Edwards couldn’t believe their eyes when they pulled the 70kg beast aboard their boat after a three-man tussle to reel it in.
And the trio were even forced to switch to a handheld line to reel in the monster after the effort of pulling it in from 0.5km deep caused their electrical fishing rod to explode.
Heavy dealer mechanic Reece, from Perth, said: “It’s probably a once in a lifetime catch, and reeling it in was a big three-man job.
“We dropped the line in and it sat on the bottom for 30 seconds, and then all of a sudden the rod was dancing. We thought ‘holy s**t, there’s something big on that rod.
“The rod bent pretty badly. The electric reel started to struggle a bit and then started smoking like we’d never seen it before.
“Then the bearing inside blew up – the reel just went bang and there was a mad rush on the boat to recover the line.
“Michael ended up grabbing a hand reel and just wrapped the line around it – he just started having this huge tug of war with it.
“As he was reeling it in with the hand line, Steve jumped to the controls of the boat and was trying to drive the boat towards the fish. I was behind Mike trying to support him – he was pulling the fish as much as he could.
“It took three of us to pull the fish up onto the boat. It was really heavy. We stared at it for about a minute and then started high fiving. We got the scales out and they dropped to 65kg and bottomed out so we knew it was more than 65kg – probably at least 70kg.”
Reece, Steve and Michael had set out to catch blue eye trevalla, a fish weighing just 3kg on average, when they caught the huge bass grouper.
The keen amateur fishermen ventured out on the angling expedition because their freezers were empty of fish at home.
And their line had been dropped into the Indian Ocean for just 30 seconds when they hooked the bass grouper.
Reece said: “Once we got it into the boat everyone was giving high fives and beers were getting opened. All three of our freezers are full to the top now.
“It took both Steve and Michael just to hold up a fillet – it’s definitely not a fish you catch every day!”