A Frankenfish record has been set. Caleb Newton, caught a snakehead weighing more than 17 pounds, which is a new world record.
The Virginia man will soon have a certificate from the International Game Fish Association, confirming that the monster northern snakehead fish that he caught in Aquia Creek on June 1 weighs 17 pounds, 6 ounces, which is a new world record, Fredericksburg.com reports.
The northern snakehead is also known as a "Frankenfish." It got its name for its appearance and adaptability. The species is able to breathe air and can live in shallow waters or mud.
The former record, set in 2004, was a 17 pound, 4 ounce snakehead caught in Miki Kagawa, Japan
"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, told Fredericksburg.com
The 27-year-old fisherman was finishing with a friend in a tournament with 15 other boats on June 1. The brown, snakelike patterned fish ignored Newton's rubber bait at first, but when he used a plastic lure with multiple hooks that looks like a fish, the snakehead latched on.
"It took me about a minute to get it in the boat," Newton said. The fish was three-feet long and Newton could barely fit it in his cooler. When he got back to land, he took the catch to Green Top sporting goods store to have the fish weighed with official scales and to John Odenkirk, fisheries biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to identify the species.
Newton will have not one, but two records including the all-tackle record for the northern snakehead and the record for the 20-pound line class. There are IFGA world records for more than 1,000 fish species.
"It's signed by our president and an executive committee member, and gives basic details about the species caught, the weight and date of the catch," Vitek said.
Newton was ecstatic to learn about the honors.
"What they're sending me, I don't even know," the plumber and avid fisherman said. "I'm just along for the ride."
Newton also hopes to hear from Berkley Fishing. They made the line and fishing rod that Newton used to make the giant catch.
"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," he said.
Virginia doesn't have a snakehead category for record fish. The snakehead was imported from Asia and first found in a pond in Maryland in 2002.
Newton is familiar with the snakehead and had been catching them around Aquia Creek for many years. He has made some big catches before of 12 to 14 pounds.
"I caught one 13 pounds on Saturday, and that one fought harder" than the 17 pounder Newton said.
Newton is going to enjoy being a record holder while he can. "How long it will hold up, I have no idea."
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