Hunting and fishing: The craziest catches and kills of 2018

By Janine Puhak | Fox News

2018 marked a particularly wild year in outdoor news, from record-breaking python kills to an epically giant hammerhead shark — and let's not forget about the 500-pound goliath grouper, the monster marlin or that 51-point buck.

Below are 10 of the craziest, most outrageous catches and kills to make headlines in 2018. And to any skeptics, trust us when we say that you've got to see them to believe them…

1. Fisherman reels in 321-pound marlin too big for his boat

Josh Roberts spent an hour reeling in the massive marlin. "It was an epic day," he said.

A 25-year-old angler in New Zealand caught himself a monster marlin during a fishing trip in May — but the fish was so large he couldn't even haul it into his boat.

“It was an epic day,” recalled Josh Roberts, a Whangarei resident, of his 321-pound catch

"I basically tied it up alongside the boat so it would drag through the water,” he added, explaining that he raced back to shore to avoid having his catch stolen by sharks.


2. Florida snake hunters capture pythons to fight Everglades infestation


The state of Florida refused to let the infestation of Burmese pythons in the Everglades slither out of its grip, and hired a select team of 25 hunters to deal with the issue last year. And apparently, the effort paid off. In late May, the group celebrated the 1,000th python capture in a little over 12-months — an 11-foot-2-inch male snake.

3. Florida fisherman reels in bale of marijuana


Jorge Bustamante reeled in something very unexpected while fishing on his birthday in early July: a large bale of marijuana, caught off the waters off Pompano Beach, roughly 11 miles north of Fort Lauderdale.

He told WSVN that he notified the U.S. Coast Guard, but not before he was able to take some photos of his big catch.

Bustamante reportedly joked the package was his "Pablo Escobar birthday present," while authorities dubbed it a "square grouper."

4. Texas fisherman reels in 'catch of multiple lifetimes'

A man fishing in Texas reeled in a shark on Saturday he described as one he "only dreamed about." (South Texas Fishing Association)

A fisherman in Texas hooked a massive hammerhead shark in mid-July, describing the catch as one he "only dreamed about" and the "shark catch of multiple lifetimes."

Poco Cedillo posted on the South Texas Fishing Association Facebook page that he was on the Padre Island National Seashore when he made the big catch.

Cedillo worked to free the hammerhead back into the ocean, but soon learned it couldn't be saved.

"People that know me know that I release every single shark I catch so this hurts," Cedillo said.


5. 500-pound grouper eats shark as fishermen watch


A group of fishermen were able to witness a 500-pound grouper's "rare" meal during a fishing trip off the coast of Everglades City, Fla., in mid-July.

Captain Jimmy Wheeler with Everglades Fishing Company watched as someone in his group caught a 3-foot shark. As the fisherman started reeling it in, a large shadow appeared. Wheeler instantly knew what was going to happen next.

Suddenly, an open-mouthed giant goliath grouper swam up and gulped the 3-foot-long shark down. "He just sucked it in," said Wheeler's wife Michelle to Fox News. "I don't remember ever seeing anything this crazy."

6. Hawaii fishermen reel in 1,073-pound blue marlin


Later that same month, a construction crew hoping to catch some fish during a team-building outing off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii, reeled in an unforgettable sea creature — a record-breaking, 1,073-pound blue marlin.

They struggled for an hour and a half with the large fish, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Together, they worked to haul the fish closer to their 50-foot boat. The fish briefly escaped — "at one point going airborne," the newspaper described — but the 1,000-pound blue marlin was eventually brought on deck.

“It looked like a sea monster!" one of the fishermen remarked to Hawaii News Now.


7. 1,000-pound alligator caught in Florida's Lake Okeechobee

A Florida man was caught on camera tying up an alligator to his ATV and driving away. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

An airline pilot and two friends captured an alligator measuring nearly 12-feet (3.6-meters) long on Florida's Lake Okeechobee in August.

Jim Howard of Cooper City tells WPLG he spotted the gator just before sunset on Aug. 16. He lured the gator with bait and used a multi-pronged grappling hook to pull it close. A friend and his son soon joined him on the boat and pulled the alligator in close before using a bang stick to shoot it in the skull.

Cooper had a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which has allowed alligator hunting since 1988. He says it took an hour and a half to haul in the 1,000-pound gator.

8. Maine fisherman reels in rare calico lobster

The University of Maine's Lobster Institute estimated the odds of finding a calico lobster are 1 in 30 million.

The odds were definitely against a Maine fisherman, who recently pulled a calico lobster from the sea in what some would call the catch of a lifetime.

The crustacean, caught off the coast of Pine Point, ended up at local restaurant Scarborough Fish & Lobster Co., the owner of the establishment, Captain Marty Macisso, told Fox News.

The University of Maine's Lobster Institute estimated the odds of finding a calico lobster are 1 in 30 million.


9. Hunter kills 679-pound black bear with handgun

FILE: The Louisiana black bear is one of 16 subspecies of the American black bear.  (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

A Pennsylvania man reportedly killed a 679-pound black bear that was five yards away with a .357 handgun during last weekend's opening of the state's four-day bear harvest.

Jordan M. Tutmaher, the man, said the bear emerged near a Christmas tree patch, according to the report. reported. 

A total of 1,241 black bears were killed in the opening day, the report said.

10. Illinois hunter bags 51-point buck


An Illinois hunter’s 51-point kill may be one of the “largest bucks ever shot in America,” the state Department of Natural Resources announced in December.

Keith Szablewski, of Johnston City, shot and killed the deer in November during the first weekend of the shotgun season in the state, WSIL-3 reported.

The Department of Natural Resources added that Szablewski's 51-pointer may be "in the running for one of the largest bucks ever shot in America."

Honorable mention: 'Angry' shark takes South Carolina fisherman's kayak for 10-minute spin


Enough said.

Fox News’ Michael Bartiromo, Madeline Farber, Jennifer Earl, Nicole Darrah, Travis Fedschun and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @JaninePuhak

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