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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

This document is provided for archival purposes only.
Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

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November 17, 2015
Contact: Dayv Lowry (360) 902-2558
Bruce Baker (360) 902-2764

Idaho angler breaks opah sport fish record

OLYMPIA – Jim Watson of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has set a new state record for the largest opah caught off the Washington coast, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed today.  

Watson caught the fish–a large-eyed, orange-red colored, disc-shaped giant–while fishing with anchovies 45 miles offshore of Westport in Grays Harbor County in September.  It weighed 35.67 pounds and measured 37-7/8 inches.

“Catching the fish was a lot of work, but fun. They really fight, and it took a while,” said Watson. “The captain and crew came unglued, because you just don’t see these fish very often.”

Watson shared the fish with the charter crew, family and friends.  “It was not like any fish I’ve tasted, but it was really good,” said Watson. “Every bit of it went to good use.”

Opah are the only fish found to be warm blooded throughout their bodies, a discovery first reported in the journal Science in May.

The new opah record exceeded the previous by 7.49 pounds. That record was held by Rick Shapland on a fish that was also caught in the Pacific Ocean off of Westport in 2013.

Jim Watson with his record opah.
Jim Watson with his record opah.