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Fisherman reels in rare ‘freaky’ fish

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 11:04 AM CDT
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BOSTON, Mass. (WCVB) – An angler in Massachusetts was shocked after he hauled in a freaky-looking fish.

With a mouth full of fangs, beady black eyes, and a body covered in slippery slime, this was quite the haul for Mike Powell.

“I didn’t know how to fight it, because this thing was jumping left, right, left, right,” Powell explained.

Powell was fishing over the weekend when he landed a nearly 6-pound, 30-inch creature of the Canton Reservoir.

This was one freaky fish he had never seen before.

“Me and my buddy, we didn’t even know what it was at first,” Powell said.

As it turned out, Powell had caught what is known as a northern snakehead, a non-native species of Canton or North America.

This type of fish is from Asia and is illegal to have in the United States.

“Let’s be honest here. I’m out here chasing big bass. To catch that when I’m not looking for it, I mean I was wearing one of these things that tells you your heart rate, that thing was going through the roof,” Powell said.

“There are very few species you can confuse with snakeheads,” said Todd Richards with Mass Wildlife.

Richards said based on size, color pattern, fin placement and head shape, the fish Powell caught is a confirmed snakehead.

Richards believes it was most likely released into the reservoir after it became too big for someone’s fish tank.

“So, they are an injurious species federally, so you can’t possess them,” Richards explained. “Mass Wildlife regulates the possession of the fish that can live in our waters, and we don’t issue permits for snakeheads.”

“I fish this lake my whole life and when I saw that I was like this doesn’t belong here,” Powell said.

Before Powell’s catch, only three other snakeheads have been documented as being caught in Massachusetts waters since 2002, and wildlife officials would like to keep it that way.

“The good news is these are all adult fish. We have no evidence of reproduction, which would be a different ball game,” Richards said.

If you ever catch a snakehead, it’s recommended to bring it ashore, kill it and contact Massachusetts Wildlife or the environmental police.

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