Zombie bass took over an Alabama lake, and the reason for the trance-like state of the giant fish sounds like something out of a 1950s sci-fi movie.
The largemouth bass, which normally live deep within the depths of the lake, floated to the surface thanks to electrical charges administered by biologists set on studying the lake.
The electrocution was part of a widescale effort to study lakes in the Tennessee Valley Authority, with the most recent electrofishing outing taking place in Wheeler Lake near Rogersville, Alabama. Researchers used a boat equipped with a humming generator that delivered weak electrical charges into the water. As the zombie bass floated to the surface, researchers scooped them up with a net and placed them in an aerated tank.
The fish were weighed and then checked for parasites and illnesses. Information collected from the fish will later be used to come up with management policies for the lakes, including stocking programs and catch limits.
As the electricity wore off the zombie bass sprang back to life, and workers put them in the water to swim away again.
Fisherman who gathered to watch the effort said they were shocked to see how many giant bass were lurking deep in the water.
“They’re pulling some 3- to 4-pounders regularly and all day we may catch three or four that size,” said Roger Morris, an angler who witnesses the fish zapping.
In all the biologists collected about 200 fish during the visit to Wheeler Lake, all of which were returned.
Biologists said the electricity has no lasting effect on the fish, which fully recover within a few minutes at most, but some people have taken issue with the treatment of the zombie bass. Animal protection groups including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claim the electrofishing is painful and unnecessary. Some have even argued that fish are more sensitive to pain than human babies.