'Frankenfish' Catch One for the Books, for Sure

By Durgin, Celina | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 8, 2013 | Go to article overview

'Frankenfish' Catch One for the Books, for Sure


Durgin, Celina, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Byline: Celina Durgin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

It's a record.

A 17-pound, 6-ounce northern snakehead fish hauled in by a Spotsylvania County, Va., plumber this year is officially the biggest ever caught, according to the International Game Fish Association.

Caleb Newton, 27, reeled in the bug-eyed, 3-foot bruiser during a June 1 bass fishing bachelor party on the Potomac River with the help of a friend who quickly brandished a net to aid his straining fishing pole. He'd been waiting since then to get the catch certified.

The fish actually earned Mr. Newton two world records: one for the biggest northern snakehead and another for a snakehead catch using a 20-pound fishing line. The catch beat a 17-pound, 4-ounce snakehead caught in Japan in 2004.

Jack Vitek, world-record coordinator for the Florida-based association, said the record has been confirmed. Mr. Newton is awaiting his certificate in the mail.

The gruesome snakehead, commonly called a Frankenfish, is also due Virginia state recognition, Mr. Newton said. He expects it to gain state record status within the next month.

Mr. Newton said the catch will be mounted and displayed either in his house or in the sporting goods store that weighed the fish for him. He said he battled the spike-toothed snakehead for a full minute while his fishing buddy came to his aid and they hauled it in.

My friend scooped it in with the net on the first try, he said, adding that they had to do everything manually and carefully to avoid losing the catch. We were lucky.

Snakeheads voraciously consume anything that swims, but Mr. Newton didn't seem too concerned.

They're creepy critters, but the danger is all in how close you put your hands to it, he said. He caught a lighter 13-pounder the same weekend that he said battled even harder than the world record fish. …

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