An eel of a fish tale

September 19, 2009 4:13:39 AM PDT
Talk about a fish tale. It's one of those stories you may not believe unless you saw the pictures. And we have the proof to show you. It started as a typical journey with friends in the Gulf of Mexico, but what happened next, you gotta hear for yourself

This fish tale takes place 120 miles off shore in the Gulf of Mexico, a five hour trip one way. And it's not about the one that got away, rather it's about the one that came aboard and scared the heck out of a few grown men.

"We went out that night and drink some beer in the full moon, and all hell broke loose," said Steve Hoyland, Jr. of Hoyland's Guide Service.

About 2am, two of these fisherman are sleeping on the front of the boat, except for Bruce Gordy who gets a hit 400 feet down.

"And started hearing him pumping the reel, he was kind of like, ugh, ugh," said Hoyland.

Twenty minutes later, he pulled a king snake eel to the surface.

"Well first off, I'm like what do you want me to do cut the line? I'm like what are we gonna do with it? He said, No let's bring it home and I said well my kids ain't never seen anything like that. So we decided we were going to try to get the eel in the boat," said Hoyland.

That turned out to be a six-and-a-half foot, 40-pound mistake.

"When we gaffed him and got him in the boat, the fight was on. We just really upset him," Hoyland said.

The prehistoric looking eel wasn't happy and trying to find his way back into the ocean. It was snapping at everything in his sight. When the guys stopped screaming like girls and hanging from the T-top, they came up with a plan.

"We threw a towel on it. I jumped on it and we got two or three guys on it and we are beating this thing down," said Hoyland.

With the ultimate fighting challenge taking place in the boat, they finally get the king snake eel into the ice chest, then crack open a few barley sodas to calm their nerves.

"It's like, man, what did we get ourselves into. And this thing is bashing around, so we sat down for about 15 minutes and the next thing you know this thing opens up the ice chest and back out on the floor again. It went through the boat, biting at everything he was really mad this time," Hoyland said.

So Round Two ensues as they look for the towel again and start punching.

"We got it back in the box, then we latched the ice chest down and put another one top of that and let him be," said Hoyland.

It's probably what they should have done in the first place. A Texas Parks and Wildlife employee says the king snake eel is a predator.

"They have a lot of teeth. They do eat fish. They are active predators. They do go out and grab things with their mouths to feed on," said Bill Balboa of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

For these professional fishing guides it was a new lesson learned on the high seas.

"I guarantee next time we are cutting the line. It will not go in the boat no more," said Hoyland.

In case you're wondering what happened to the king snake eel, an acquaintance said he wanted to eat it so they let him have it. We're told it was delicious, but had a lot of bones.

We do want to mention that we found this story with the help of the Sea Breeze News.

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