A "Frankenfish" record has been set by a Virginia man, who during a June 1 fishing tournament caught a 17-pound, 6-ounce northern snakehead in a north Virginia creek.
Caleb Newton, a 27-year-old plumber and die-hard fisherman from Spotsylvania County, broke the previous snakehead world record by just two ounces. The previous record was set in Japan in 2004 by fisherman Miki Kagawa.
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The "Frankenfish" nickname stems from the snakehead's adaptability and appearance, with its elongated body, snake-like pattern along its sides and large mouth filled with sharp, menacing spiked teeth.
Native to Asia, snakeheads are in invasive species of fish that are known for being a voracious predator, eating practically anything that swims as well as some amphibians and mammals that hop and scurry, specifically frogs and rats.
Newton's 17-pound, 6-ounce "Frankenfish" "took [him] about a minute to get it in the boat," the fisherman told the Free Lance Star
, adding "I caught one 13 pounds on Saturday, and that one fought harder."
According to Newton, he and his friends had been catching large snakeheads for years in the area, most weighing 12 to 14 pounds.
Following the record catch, Newton took his prize fish to snakehead expert John Odenkirk for identification. Odenkirk is a fisheries biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
"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 International Game Fish Association (IGFA), said Monday.
In an interview with the Free Lance Star, an ecstatic Newton awaiting his IGFA certificate, alluded that the fishing tackle company – Berkley Fishing, who's gear he used to catch the record setting fish, might also be sending him a prize for his feat.
"What they’re sending me, I don’t even know. I’m just along for the ride," Newton said. "I’m hoping they will send me some gear and apparel. I fish in tournaments and people know my name now. I’d like to wear a Berkley jacket."
According to the Free Lance Star, bowfishermen in the area, who use specialized archery equipment to shoot and retrieve a fish, have reported catching 18 pound and larger snakeheads in nearby creeks. Such catches are ineligible for hook-and-line records.
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