While filming and photographing an artificial reef for TISIRI's reef inventory efforts, Joe Kistel encounters a large toad fish. The video below captures the fish trying to attach Kistel's tripod.
Prior to entering the water for this dive, Kistel was warned about a large toad fish sighted by fellow diver John Perkner. Perkner and his dive partner Benoit had just completed their first dive on this Jacksonville reef site where they encountered the giant.
Kistel entered the the ocean with his dive buddy Craig and descended to the sea floor with a video camera, still camera, and tripod in tow. When they reached the sea floor and reef culvert structures Kistel had a quick look around for the toad fish but he did not see it in the immediate area. He then decided to move forward with dive objectives and began to set up cameras to visually inventory the reef. After photographing a few reef culverts and the inhabiting marine critters Kistel moved the still camera tripod next to a pile of reef rubble and left it there momentarily while he videoed a nearby fish. When Kistel returned, to his surprise, he found the giant toad fish staring-down the ballast weight on the camera tripod. The fish was almost 2 feet in length, large for the typical toad fish in the area. Kistel knew this was the fish the other divers warned him about and began to take some pictures and video.
To get a better picture angle Kistel moved the tripod away from the toad fish and the toad fish eagerly followed it. Kistel continued to move the tripod several times and each time the toad fish would follow. The fish seemed to fixate on the ballast weight of the tripod. He must have though it looked tasty. The video above shows the actual encounter.