Nfld. & Labrador

Cannibal cod caught in fishing trifecta

The cod inside the larger cod also had a capelin in its mouth.

The smaller cod inside the larger cod was also eating a capelin

The larger cod had a smaller cod digesting in its stomach, while the smaller cod had a capelin poking out of its mouth. (Submitted by Kristi Bourne)

It was a three-in-one catch for a family fishing along Newfoundland's northeast coast over the weekend.

Mark Sturge's father caught a codfish that had something in its mouth, but Sturge said they didn't think anything of it until they got to the wharf and took it out of the cooler.

"I kind of thought that it might have been a mackerel or a herring or something like that and when I pulled it out, we realized all of a sudden that it was a codfish … it was a full codfish inside of a larger codfish," Sturge said.

It just looked pretty bizarre.- Mark Sturge

"When I pulled that one out, there was also a capelin coming out of the mouth of that cod."

Sturge and his family caught the trio of fish on Sunday in the Greenspond area of Bonavista Bay, where he's fished for years.

It was a pretty strange sight that Sturge had never seen before.

Mark Sturge, Kristi Bourne, their three-month-old son Jaxson and their dog, Jigger, after a day of fishing in central Newfoundland. (Submitted by Kristi Bourne)

"We've seen capelin in the mouth of a cod and we've seen shrimp and jellyfish and those types of things, but never seen a cod inside of a cod before," he said. "It just looked pretty bizarre."

The largest cod was around three feet, Sturge said, and the smaller cod around half that.

Given the manner of the catch, Sturge is pretty sure it only counts as one fish of his limit.

And while the cod may have bitten off more than it could chew, Sturge had not.

Yes, they did cook it up — the larger one, at least.

"Not the small one," Sturge said. "It was starting to digest a little bit."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from the St. John's Morning Show