Monster cray too lovely to eat

02:02, Jan 03 2013
Giant crayfish
David Wilson with his monster catch.
Giant crayfish
David Wilson says the cray is 62cm from the tail to the top of the head and 1.2m to the top of the antennae.
Giant cray
The giant cray in its new home in Paihia.
Giant cray
The big cray, with some stuff it is bigger than.

When Dave Wilson pulled a giant crayfish from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, it was love at first sight.

"It's my baby, I love it," the Auckland holidaymaker said.

Wilson pulled up the 4.5 kilogram monster on a line just off Robertson Island in the Bay of Islands last night.

The cray, which is yet to be named, is now getting to know a Paihia aquarium, 35 South, which also doubles as a restaurant.

But Wilson is sure his baby is not on the menu.

He plans to visit the crayfish every year when he returns for holidays, but in the meantime he is enjoying regaling his friends with the story of his whopper catch that definitely did not get away.

Wilson said he was out fishing with his friends when he caught the crayfish about 9pm.

Excited about the find, they ventured into Paihia where a local restaurant brought their scales outside to weigh it.

The beast weighed in at 4.5kg and measured 62 centimetres from tail to the top of the head, or 1.2 metres to the top of the antennae.

But in every good story, there's always a twist.

"As luck would have it the manager of the local aquarium was walking past and saw it, and came over to chat to us about it", Wilson said.

"We decided to put it in their aquarium so others could enjoy seeing it and it would be safe."

Wilson said the cray was in "mint condition" and it would be nice to keep it that way.

Aquarium owner Scott Sutherland said he'd only just seen the crayfish this morning but it was "strutting his stuff" around the 60,000 litre aquarium and enjoying exploring its new surroundings.

While it didn't have a name yet, another crayfish in the tank was called Arthur, and the newcomer would have a name soon enough.

Sutherland said the cray would likely be at least 65 years old, and "would probably outlive any of us still".