Two fishermen got a great two-for-one deal when a kingfish they caught “spat out what it had for breakfast”, with both saying they had never seen anything like it.
Murray Wootton and Joe Edlington captured amazing footage of their kingfish spitting out a kahawai, with videos of the incident going viral online and a “huge” reaction from their followers.
“Joe got a fright [when it happened] and I was just standing there, stunned,” Wootton told the Herald.
“It was pretty crack-up. We were cracking up laughing at it for ages when we looked at the video afterwards. We were pretty surprised when it came out but it took a little bit to register,” he said.
“We were just like, ‘holy cr*p’, I’ve never seen that before. Obviously, it [the kingfish] was in fight-or-flight and it basically just spat out what it had for breakfast.”
Edlington, a popular social media personality who goes by J.E. Wilds, called it a “fluke moment”, saying he couldn’t believe what had happened.
“I can’t imagine we’ll ever see that again. We just thought, ‘What the heck are we dealing with here’,” he said.
Wootton said he thought the kahawai had been “decomposing for a little bit” and estimated it could have been inside the kingfish for at least a day.
“It happened in the afternoon, so I’m not really too sure whether it was [eaten] the day before or that morning, but it had been in there for quite a while,” he said.
The pair tagged the kingfish and released it back into the ocean. They threw the kahawai back into the water too.
“Obviously, it [the kingfish] had been after my lure, so it skipped two meals after it spat that one [the kahawai] out, so it would have been pretty hungry, I say,” Wootton said.
“It would have, for sure, snatched up another feed. It would have been a hungry kingfish.”
Wootton said the kingfish was just over 1m long and the pair “picked it was around the 15-kilo mark – it was a really fat fish”.
He said the reaction to the video online had been “huge”, with more than 700,000 views on TikTok and Instagram. Edlington’s video got 8 million views online. The pair faced small trouble when an overseas fishing website republished their videos without credit or permission.
Wootton and Edlington were happy for the Herald to republish their videos along with “a good shoutout for my YouTube channel would be amazing”, Wootton said.
Raphael Franks is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. He joined the Herald as a Te Rito cadet in 2022.