PHOTO: Hawaiian Man Reels in Absolutely Massive Octopus, Breaks Over 20-year State Record

by Caitlin Berard

On Tuesday morning (August 30), Michael Matsunaga loaded up on fish and squid and headed out on his boat for a relaxing day of fishing – or so he thought. The 69-year-old Wahiawa resident dropped his line, hoping to reel in an interesting catch from the sea floor. With his bait 400 feet below the surface, he waited.

It took some fisherman’s patience, but Matsunaga eventually felt a tug on his line about a mile off the coast of Turtle Bay. A strong tug. Without missing a beat, Michael Matsunaga began to reel in his catch.

Bringing the animal that had taken an interest in his bait to the surface was no easy task – whatever it was not only weighed a ton but was putting up an incredible fight. “It felt like it was stuck,” Matsunaga explained to Hawaii News Now. After a few moments’ struggle, however, the experienced fisherman finally had his prize.

To his amazement, it wasn’t a fish at all but a massive octopus. As such, the fight wasn’t over yet. Using all eight of its powerful legs, the octopus fought back against Matsunaga with all its might, attempting to break free of its captor’s hold and escape back into the ocean.

In the end, however, Matsunaga was the one to emerge victorious. “He has eight legs. I got two arms,” Matsunaga recalled. “I kind of put him in the cooler. But he tried to get out of everything. I finally got him in the cooler. And then I had to sit on the cooler because he was kind of lifting me up.”

Fisherman Almost Kept the Record-Breaking Octopus a Secret

Though he knew the catch was, at the very least, an impressive one, Michael Matsunaga initially had no plans of sharing the feat with others.

Hilariously, the only thing on Matsunaga’s mind after reeling in the mammoth octopus was the delicious meals he would make with it. Rather than making tako poke (octopus poke), though, Matsunaga planned to “just boil it in beer probably. One leg at a time.”

Then the octopus was weighed and found to have broken a 22-year state record, however, at which point Matsunaga could no longer keep his unbelievable catch a secret.

The monster octopus weighed in at 25.95 pounds, breaking the previous record of 19 pounds. Believe it or not, that record was actually set by his brother Stewart, who made the epic catch off Kaena point back in 2000.

Michael Matsunaga clearly feels nothing but pride for his skillful capture of the octopus. Once news of the Herculean cephalopod hit social media, however, it began to receive mixed reactions.

Some were simply impressed by Matsunaga’s fishing prowess. “That’s a beast!!! I would love to hear the story! Nice one unks!!!” an impressed user said. “You ended up getting the Great Grandfather of them all. Nice catch,” another wrote.

Other users had a less favorable view of the fisherman. That said, the common theme of the disapproving comments wasn’t the catch itself but the fact that the octopus wasn’t then released back into the water.

“Should have put him back. As a scuba diver, I would have enjoyed seeing him. Shame on you,” one user responded. “Octopi are so intelligent and playful. I was hoping out of respect for its size, he’d let it go,” another said.