PANAMA CITY BEACH — As the eel hung from the end of the hook, wrapping its body protectively around the sand perch that got it into this mess, Captain Jason Shingler of Adrenaline H20 charters snapped some pictures.
After all, you just don’t see an eel like that every day.
“We didn’t measure or weigh the eel,” he said. “Just a quick release.”
Shingler, and his customer William Stevenson, were eight miles offshore fishing for grouper when the eel seized on a 10 inch sand perch they were using for bait. Shingler said they catch eels “here and there,” but that this one was “really cool.”
“The eel was quite large and eating a huge bait,” he said.
They were quick to throw it back for a few reasons. One, moray eels are known to be poor eating. Two, they can produce mucus. And three, they have not one, but two rows of teeth.
There are over 200 species of moray eel, but based on the photos this one looks like a fine-spotted moray eel. Moray eels are ambush predators, spending most of their time hidden in rocky crevices waiting for the right meal to pass by them.
This eel probably would have been happier with a different fish.
Not to far away, there was another creature that would have been happier with a different snack. On Saturday, Nory Jaramillo caught a large octopus while fishing off the MB Miller pier. His catch, shared on the Panama City Fishing Facebook page, does make for good eating.
Have a fish tale? Catch or see something interesting this last week? Send an email to email@example.com or call 522-5114.