St. Pete man catches 400-pound fish with wrench

Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 19, 2016

The catch of a lifetime. That's how Ryan Hein of St. Petersburg describes the 400-pound Goliath grouper he caught last week. The bait: a lure he made out of a number-11 wrench.

"A lot of mechanics know that you don't really use an 11 for anything," Hein said. "At least I never have."

All he did was attach two hooks to the lure then tied it to his line.

"Some jigs can cost $20," he said. "I was just looking for a way to make a jig without spending so much money."

He posted a picture of the makeshift bait on Facebook as a sort of a joke the day before he went out on the water. He said he knew he would probably catch something. He didn't realize how big that fish would be and how fast he would catch it.

"It was the first drop and the third pull up before the fish came and took the jig," he said.

He was 30 miles straight offshore. He and his two friends had a GoPro camera running the entire time.

"I knew it was a big fish immediately," he said. "I had no control, just holding on while the fish just went wherever it wanted to go."

The video shows his poll bent nearly in half. The rod and reel held up despite not being built to handle such a large fish. He was using 50-pound test line.

"I couldn't believe the gear held up and we landed the fish. That was just as unbelievable for me as using the wrench itself," Hein said.

Ryan jumped into the water to get a picture with the giant. He took out a few hooks that had been left in the grouper's mouth from other fishermen. He then removed his wrench and received a decent cut to his finger from the catch as he was releasing it.

Hein said they caught several more fish on the wrench before finally losing the lure. He's since made another one.

"This one is bigger," Hein said as he was holding the new wrench-lure. "It's a 14, stepping it up a little bit."

He plans to build more jigs out of other household goods. Next, the plan is to attach hooks to a fork and butter-knife.