Frankenfish Record: Man Catches Giant, Sharp-Toothed Snakehead Fish In Virginia

A Frankenfish record has been set in Virginia after a fisherman landed a 17-pound, 6-ounce snakehead during a trip to Aquia Creek.

Caleb Newton was participating in a fishing tournament back in June when he hooked onto a monster, sharp-toothed snakehead fish, which has been nicknamed Frankenfish. He said it only took about a minute to get it back into the boat, and at close to 3 feet long the fish barely fit in his cooler.

The Frankenfish record was recently certified by the International Game Fish Association, beating out a fish caught in Japan in 2004 that weighed two ounces less.

“His record has been approved and we’ll be sending the certificate later this week, or early next week,” said Jack Vitek, world-record coordinator for the Florida-based IGFA.

Wildlife officials likely wish the Frankenfish record still resided in Japan. The snakehead is an invasive species native to China, Korea, and Russia, but was found in a Maryland pond in 2002. Since then the highly adaptable fish has made its way down several tributaries of Chesapeake Bay.

Officials say the snakehead is hard to stop. It can adapt to nearly any environment, even breathing air and surviving on land for up to four days at it searches for new living spaces — thus earning it the nickname Frankenfish.

As a top-level predator, the snakehead has no natural enemies, so it has spread almost unchecked. Also referred to as “Fishzilla,” the snakehead is very prolific at reproduction.

“Each spawning-age female can release up to 15,000 eggs at once,” the National Geographic Channel noted. “Snakeheads can mate as often as five times a year. This means in just two years, a single female can release up to 150,000 eggs.”

Newton said he plans to have his Frankenfish record mounted and will keep it either at his home or the sporting goods store where he weighed the monster.