Giant Octopus Breaks 22-Year Old State Record

The eight-legged creature bettered the Hawaiian octopus record by seven pounds, set by the angler’s brother in 2000.

Michael Matsunaga with giant octopus
Michael Matsunaga’s octopus destroyed his brother’s record. Courtesy Michael Matsunaga

Michael Matsunaga, 69, was bottom-fishing with a combination fish-and-squid bait on Aug. 30 near the Hawaiian island of Oahu when he hooked something that was big and very deep.

Matsunaga, from the town of Wahiawa, was fishing near Turtle Bay, on the north shore of the famed Island of Oahu, at the opposite end of the island from where famed Honolulu is located.

“It felt like it was stuck,” Matsunaga told HawaiiNewsNow about when he first hooked the giant octopus near bottom in 400-feet of water.

The battle to better the eight-legged creature was tough, but once the octopus was finally hauled into Matsunaga’s boat, the real hand-to-creature combat began.

“He has eight legs, I’ve got two arms,” Matsunaga said. “I kind of put him in the cooler. But he tried to get out everything. I finally got him in the cooler. And then I had to sit on the cooler because he was lifting me up.”

Matsunaga brought the octopus in for weighing to Hana Pa’a Fishing Company (a tackle, fishing and sporting goods store) near Honolulu, where it was weighed on certified scales at 25.95 pounds. It measured 4.3 feet in length.

That easily topped the previous record set in 2000 by Matsunaga’s brother Stewart, who had caught a 19-pound octopus near Kaena Point, at the western most tip of the island of Oahu.

Octopus is a common addition to famed Hawaiian poke, a hugely popular seafood in the island chain that’s relished by native chefs, connoisseurs and visitors.

But Matsunaga said his record octopus wasn’t going to become poke. Instead it was destined to be boiled in beer for dinner – “one leg at a time.”

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