I’d always heard stories of weird stuff washing up on the beaches of Baja, and yesterday happened to be one of those days. Only a few minutes after walking out the door, my brother @jacob_rthompson and I stumbled upon this juvenile oarfish washed up on the sand. Upon running up on him it became apparent that he was still breathing and we must have been just minutes behind the wave that brought him ashore.

I wasn’t about to touch this thing that looked like it just came out of the Stranger Things upside down portal, but knowing exactly what it was my brother carefully placed him back in the water, and after a couple of pictures he was revived and sent back on his way. The future wasn’t looking so bright for this guy, as the oarfish typically resides between 500-3,000 feet, but I’d like to think that he’ll go on to roam the Sea of Cortez for many more years, hopefully reaching proportions similar to that of the second photo, an oarfish which washed ashore on the same beach many years ago.

Unfortunately, our good deed did not pay dividends in the form of stretched fly lines, but it was a hell of a consolation prize.

Oarfish are extremely rare to be found alive as they spend most of their lives in depths of 500-3,000 feet of water. When they are found on the surface they are usually not living, so kudos to Noah and Jacob for reviving this one in hopes of it getting back to the depths of the Ocean. The fish can grow up to 36 feet in length, check out the 23 footer below.

U.S. Navy trainees hold a dead 23-foot giant oarfish that washed ashore in San Diego in 1996. Photo: Wikipedia Commons.

Be sure to follow Noah on Instagram at @noah_rthompson.

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