Wilfred and Debrina Gibbons. *Photo by Sarah Lagan
Wilfred and Debrina Gibbons. *Photo by Sarah Lagan

A couple out fishing got quite the surprise on Saturday evening when they accidentally caught a 17 inch lionfish on hook and line. 

By pure coincidence Wilfred Gibbons and his wife Debrina caught the fish on the same day as the Lionfish Tournament which took place at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

And at 17 and a half inces it is one of the largest lionfish ever caught in Bermuda. 

They had been fishing South East of St David’s Head and at about 6:30pm they pulled up the unexpected catch. Debrina had heard that the tournament was taking place and so decided to take the catch in to BIOS to be weighed and documented.

Wilfred told the Bermuda Sun: “We caught it on an 80lb test hand line — it took no time to bring it up. It was in about 20 fathoms (120 feet) — there weren’t no real fight just the scare of seeing it come out of the water. 

“We was catching barbers and conies — this is the first time I’ve been fishing for over a year. My boy called me up today so we went fishing and ended up catching a lionfish. I’ve never caught one before.”

Jim Gleason of the Ocean Support Foundation said: “This is the perfect example of word getting out to people about the problem of lionfish.”

Some 66 lionfish were caught on the day including the Gibbons’ fish which they later took home to cook.