The 6 Most Mind-Blowing Things Ever Caught by Fishermen

#3. Thomas Swindal Rides the Snake

In the summer of 2011, brothers Kenneth and Thomas Swindal were fishing near the town of Marathon in the Florida Keys when they noticed a strange, squarish white object floating in the water nearby. These were mature men (Thomas was 53), and being from the Florida Keys, long a popular destination for drug runners and smugglers, they were pretty certain they'd just found a kilo of cocaine. The brothers hauled the brick onto the hull, looked at it for a few minutes, and then put it in the bait well for safekeeping. What Kenneth planned to do with it when he got back to shore probably depended on whether or not he'd seen No Country for Old Men, but for now, he continued to fish. Thomas, it turned out, had some of the Coen brothers' trippier scenes in mind.

We hope it's more a Lebowski Saddam in a bowling alley than a Burn After Reading dick chair.

A short while later, Kenneth looked over and noticed his brother, who was old enough to be a grandfather, had been possessed by the ghost of Keith Moon. That's the only way to explain why Thomas had not only opened the package of white powder, but was eating and snorting it like a starving man who just found a box of Krispy Kremes.


In a development that surprised nobody except him, the fisherman in his fifties couldn't handle his drugs. Less than a half hour later, Kenneth said his brother started going berserk. First, he threw their portable VHF radio and cellphones over the side. Next, he started stabbing the boat's engine with a gaffing hook and removed the cowling, causing the engine to sink into the sea, effectively stranding them.

"The fire dragon is dead! Flock to me, my harem!"

In an effort to speak the only language his brother now understood -- the language of tossing shit overboard -- Kenneth tossed all the sharp objects and the giant brick of drugs off the boat. He climbed to the top of the vessel and screamed for help until his cries were noticed by a fellow boater, and the brothers were towed to shore.

"Here's your rope. What? Woah no, I'll stay on my boat, thanks."

Thomas was taken to the nearest hospital, where he died of what was later conclusively determined to be a cocaine overdose. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office felt the need to remind the public that pulling suspected contraband from the water is ill advised, and that, "It certainly is never safe to ingest any substance if you do not know what the substance is or what the potency of the substance might be." That is, unless your midlife-crisis-based bad decision of choice happens to be going out like the worst kind of rockstar.

#2. Maine Lobsterman Catches Chimera

When Alan Robinson headed out to sea in Bar Harbor, Maine, in July of 2006, he, like all commercial fishermen, was hoping for a little luck. What he hauled into his boat that day was a 1 in 50 million discovery.

We meet again, Two-Shell.

It looks like a Japanese fish-torture delicacy, where only half of the lobster is boiled so you can hear the other half scream, but it's actually a natural phenomenon. Well ... if you consider something that happens practically never a natural phenomenon.

Natural phenomenon.

A chimera occurs when two zygotes with different cells, and sometimes from different species, combine together to form a single creature ... or person. Yes, there have been human chimeras, who are the genetic equivalent of having non-identical twins in one body. Unfortunately, the human versions are far less dramatic-looking than what you might expect based on the lobster.

It depends on whether you like UV parties or not.

Lobsters carry a variety of pigments, usually yellow, red and blue. According to National Geographic, lobsters "grow symmetrically, with each half of the body developing independently of the other" (but hardly ever in this perfect of a fashion), and the chimera lobster captured by Robinson was lacking the blue and yellow pigment on one side, which caused it to look halfway delicious.

His red side says "Eat me." His black side says "You will lose your nose."

The amazing crustacean is currently living out the remainder of its life in Maine's Mount Desert Oceanarium. While chimeras are extremely rare, the uneven distribution of the three lobster pigments is less uncommon, and can occasionally result in other abnormalities like blue and even harlequin lobsters:

kodiak, spluch

Unfortunately for any Dungeons and Dragons fans who have made it this far based on the header, science says that as rare as the chimera lobsters and humans are, they're not even close to as rare as the ones with a hit dice of 9d10+27 (76 hp) and armor class of 19 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +9 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 18.

Add a pack of dire wolves with trip to seriously fuck up a cocky mid-level party's day.

#1. A Sailfish and the Sanctity of Marriage

In December 2002, Jamie Artzt and Blake Liebeskind were looking to take their friend's mind off the fact that his marriage was on the rocks. Their buddy, Eric Bartos, loved deep sea fishing, and so they took him out off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. The outing was a success for Bartos, as he was able to land a trophy-sized sailfish. But like John McClane with a hangover, no matter how much ass he was kicking, he couldn't get his mind off his wife.

Rob Hughes
She probably wasn't much of a looker.

In an act that probably got his buddies' secondhand embarrassment glands working over time, Bartos slid his soon-to-be meaningless wedding band onto the bill of the fish. Bartos would later claim it was meant to symbolize the start of his new life as a bachelor, which we believe translates to "I was drunk."

If we know anything about the kind of guys who stick rings on fish, there are about 70 empty cans of Keystone just out of frame.

Figuring the fish would get the symbolism and take it off once he and his fish friends were done laughing at the silly new "nose ring," Bartos and his friends returned the fish to the waves with its new bling still in place.

In 2005, the three friends found themselves together once again on a fishing vessel off the Florida coast, two-thirds of them presumably hoping Bartos wouldn't queer up the day with his sad panda antics. As the day wound down, there was finally a big hit on one of the lines, and Bartos grabbed the reel, saving the day via 10 minutes of working a beauty of a sailfish toward the boat. Once the fish was close enough, Liebeskind grabbed the line and noticed something shiny around its bill. It was the wedding ring that Bartos had wedged onto the bill of the sailfish in December of 2002, now back and staring him in the face with a fishy wriggling hatred. After an awkward stunned silence, the men came to their senses and immediately set about snapping photos of the ridiculous coincidence. The fish's bill had clearly grown in girth around the ring, securing it firmly in place.

Just like your mom's pantsuit.

When news of the bizarre coincidence reached the media, their bullshit-detecting equipment buried the needle. Bartos agreed to a lie detector test and passed with flying colors, the results of the test being described as "overwhelmingly truthful." While lie detector tests are notoriously fallible, there's also the question of why Bartos would make up a story in which he tortures a giant fish to get back at his wife.

Pamela Barclay
When returned to the water she turns back into a woman, like a reverse Daryl Hannah in Splash.

Mistaking the intentions of the sword-faced fish clearly bent on revenge, Bartos took it as a "compliment that some people don't believe us. Iit just shows us how miraculous this story is." Dr. Eric Prince of the National Marine Fisheries Service said, "I have no reason to disbelieve these guys and the fact that there is a picture that shows that notch, that indentation, where that ring was on the bill even further convinces me this is the truth." He also noted that there have been other instances of fisherman tagging and releasing billfish only to capture the same one later, but emphasized that it's extremely rare, and the equivalent of winning the lottery. Except that instead of winning millions, Bartos lost money while giving his ex-wife another reason to think she was right about him and his idiot friends after all.

No matter what you think about fate, a stupid fish will never reconcile a marriage.

For more horror movie terrors, check out 7 Terrifying Prehistoric Creatures (That Are Still Around) and 13 Real Animals Lifted Directly Out of Your Nightmares.

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