Fishermen working off the coast of Plymouth in Britain snagged a 7-foot-long (2.1 meters) conger eel by mistake after it got tangled in their nets. Weighing in at just over 133 pounds (59 kg), it’s a near-record catch — but this clever optical illusion makes it look much longer than it really is.

As reported in The Telegraph, the conger eel was caught by Scott Govier, a commercial fisherman from Devon. At 7-foot-long, this image is very likely an optical illusion, and deliberately deceptive.


Here’s what Govier had to say about the catch:

I’m a commercial fisherman, and it was just a normal days fishing - business as usual. When we pulled it up I was stunned, because it was so huge. It was already dead when we pulled it up, else we would have thrown him back in and let him live. It was too much of a magnificent specimen to kill, but as he was already dead it seemed worth bringing him in. I don’t know how long it was, it was difficult to tell and I never really took any notice. It was over ten foot I would say, his head was resting above our shelter deck. It was sold in the Plymouth market, made just over £40. Congers aren’t worth much these days, but it went for more than I expected.

Pete Bromley of Plymouth Fisheries told The Guardian this is probably an unspawned female who was searching for food prior to venturing out to deeper waters. Despite their appearance, they’re not the strongest swimmers.


Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated a length of 20-feet and did not note that it was an optical illusion. As noted in the BBC, “the photos were deceptive and the fish was actually about 7ft (2.1m) long.”

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