VIDEO: Long Island Fisherman Catches and Releases Octopus

While striped bass fishing on Long Island's south shore, a New York surfcaster reeled in an unexpected surprise.

New York surfcaster, Joe (@nothingeverchanging), caught and released this common octopus while striped bass fishing on Long Island’s south shore.

If you’ve fished the surf long enough, you’ve probably reeled in a few strange or unexpected catches at some point. Surfcasters fishing for striped bass regularly encounter larger predators like sharks and seals; but sometimes, our plugs and lures entice smaller, inquisitive quarry, like squid with eyes bigger than their stomachs, or a black sea bass that made a wrong turn. Few, if any surfcasters, though, can say they have reeled in a rogue octopus from the crashing waves. For New York-based surfcaster, Joe—known on Instagram by the handle @nothingeverchanging—a common octopus was the last thing he expected to find on the hook of his Tsunami swim shad in the mid-November surf.


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While striped bass fishing on the south shore of Long Island one night, the single hook of Joe’s paddletail took purchase in the cephalopod’s tentacle. He managed to safely remove the hook and carefully handle the octopus before documenting his catch and returning it to the water.

Cephalopods—like squid, cuttlefish, and the common octopus in the video—are classified as marine animals in the mollusk family and are identified by prominent features including a large head and tentacles. In fact, the word cephalopod is derived from Greek language and translates to “head foot”, due to the close proximity of their heads to their tentacles or legs. While octopus are an uncommon cephalopod to encounter in shallow water, longfin and even shortfin squid are frequently caught and harvested in inshore environments, where they fall prey to striped bass, bluefish, fluke, and a number of other seasonal surf and reef-dwelling species.

Like squid, the common octopus is an invertebrate that dwells on the sea floor. They are most often seen by divers and spear fishermen around reef and wreck sites, where they hunt and trap prey like crabs, snails, clams and small fish with their tentacles before using their beak to inject their prey with venom. And while octopi seldom ever enter shallow water,  juveniles have been netted by marine biologists while studying life in the back bays and estuaries, where the water is warmest in the late summer or early fall. In mid-November though, this octopus was certainly out of its element.


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Whether this octopus was on the hunt for some slow-moving, unsuspecting prey, or it just became lost and disoriented, add it to the ever-growing list of surfcasting oddities.

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