‘Frankenfish’ Record: Is Caleb Newton’s 17Lb, 6Oz Monster Catch In Virginia The Biggest Snakehead Ever Caught? [VIDEO]
A "Frankenfish" record has been set by one die-hard fisherman in Virginia. Caleb Newton's trophy catch weighs 17lb, 6oz, and is being medaled as the biggest snakehead ever caught. The 27-year-old, who is a plumber, reeled in the monster fish during a tournament in Spotsylvania County in Northern Virginia. According to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Newton's Frankenfish record broke the previous record set in 2004 in Japan by just 2 ounces.
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According to the International Game Fish Association, or IGFA, which keeps the most current world record fishing catches by category, Newton's Frankenfish is truly the world's largest. "His record has been approved and we'll be sending the certificate later this week, or early next week," Jack Vitek, world-record coordinator for the Florida-based IGFA, said Monday.
Newton set his Frankenfish record on June 1 while fishing in Aquia Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River. He was part of a tournament in Spotsylvania county; there were 15 other boats in the water that day.
The record-breaking Frankenfish caught in Virginia measured 3-feet-long. The Washington Post reports the fish barely fit inside Newton's cooler.
The fittingly named "Frankenfish" is actually an invasive species of predator fish called a northern snakehead, which is native to China, Korea and Russia. The snakehead, which has razor-sharp teeth and eats frogs, birds, and even small pets, occupies waterways up and down the East Coast of the U.S. and threatens to disrupt the ecosystem.
Named for its grotesque appearance and surprising resilience, the snakehead can live outside of water for several days and is so harmful to the environment that some states prohibit people from even possessing the fish or its eggs.
The Frankenfish first popped up in the U.S. in Maryland around May of 2002. Later that year, states began to list the snakehead on their lists of predatory exotic species, making it illegal to possess one. IScience Times reported that the snakehead got into our waterways one of two ways: Either the fish was released by aquarium owners, or individuals looking to establish a local food source deposited the fish into lakes and rivers.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has posted signs along Central Park ponds and waterways advising fisherman not to toss snakeheads back into the water when caught. "If you catch this fish, do not release," the sign reads. "It is highly invasive and a threat to the ecosystem."
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