Joseph Ali hand-caught a huge California spiny lobster weighing over 17-pounds, in the Pacific waters off Huntington Beach, California.
The local resident Joseph Ali, was closing up Zack’s Pier Plaza, his family owned concessions and surf rental shop, for the day, when he looked out and took notice of unusually calm waters. The 27-year-old decided the conditions were right so he went diving for his dinner. Though it was his first attempt around the Huntington Beach pier, it would end up being his most successful dive.
The swimmer dove 16-feet down with an LED flashlight and first spotted a smaller lobster. The crustacean took shelter and Joseph followed. “He kinda went underneath this little crevasse, like this platform, like looks like a piece of the old pier. So I went down and next thing you know, I peeked my head through and I seen this guy just sitting there looking at me and automatically I just took my light off of him,” Joseph explained to the Orange County Register.
After resurfacing for another breath, the diver went back down to find the clawed creature. “I see both of his antennas sticking out so I knew he was right there,” recalled Joseph. “As soon as I put one hand on him he did like a roll and kinda just went like to my face, to my mask and just knocked my mask off… So I had to grab him with both hands and just kinda bear hug him and just go all the way to the top of the water.” The diver endured some losses in the battle saying, “When he was to my body he was just moving. He just wanted to get off of me. But I had to squeeze him as tight as I could. Man, I had holes in my wet suit. I lost my mask though so, but it’s alright.”
Joseph emerged as the victor in the struggle. He swam back to shore with the lobster and it weighed in at 17 pounds .75 ounce. Andrew Hughan of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife estimated that the lobster was over 30 years old. A lobster carapace, or shell must be at least 3.5 inches in length to be legally fished, however there is no legal maximum size for the crustaceans. In part because larger older lobsters are more fertile than those that are younger, Hughan felt, “It would have been nice if he would have taken a picture and let it go, but it’s his prerogative.” Typically a “trophy” sized lobster of this type is 5-pounds, however some California spiny lobsters have weighed more than 26 pounds measuring up to three feet in length.
Joseph froze the lobster and later cooked his catch for a dinner with friends and family. He told the OC Register, “It’s a real feeling of accomplishment when you go out there and catch your own dinner versus buying it,” adding, “We’re going to eat him yea. We’re going to have a little party here.”
More info: OC Register