Bizarre (and Mostly True) Fish Stories
Between droughts and jellyfish, red tides and coastal blobs, there aren’t a lot of cheerful news pieces regarding fishing these days. This makes it a good time to explore the humorous and bizarre world of fish themselves. We all know that fishermen are famous for telling good tales, but how odd do they get? We found some tales of fish rains, escape routes, cheaters, and stomach contents that are guaranteed to make you smile. Whether you fully believe these fish stories is up to you.
Rain of Fish
This story begins with a bizarre rain that was felt this past June, when residents of Fairbanks, Alaska reported random sightings of arctic lamprey on bare land. Four confirmed sightings were found during the same week, and are currently believed to be the work of gulls. Though this was the likely cause here, waterspouts have been known to bring fish, frogs, and jellyfish hundreds of miles and drop them down in random places. There is a town in Honduras, Yoro, which feels the “rain of fish” at least twice per year, and is over 150 miles from the ocean. This was confirmed by a National Geographic crew, who witnessed it in the 1970’s. Because those fish are all blind, there is a strong belief that the streets are connected to underground cave systems that simply flood during heavy rains and strand large numbers of these fish in the streets.
The Winner Takes it All
A UK resident in 2013 decided he would win a bass-fishing competition with a secret weapon. He brought in the largest fish by breaking in to the town’s aquarium and stealing their bass from the local fish display. The fish had some unique markings, and a local who had visited the aquarium that week recognized it. After the aquarium fish was confirmed to be missing, and the prize fish was identified by the owners of the aquarium, the man was charged with burglary and fraud.
We are all aware of the ability for our trout and salmon species to jump up stepped waterfalls and traverse long distances. A trout farm in England had been looking for a thief who was stealing their fish from their local pond, but hadn’t caught them yet. After putting in security cameras, they discovered that the fish (European brown trout) were simply jumping up the three-foot high stream of water that was pouring fresh water from a nearby stream. The owner thought the volume and height was enough to keep them from escaping. As you can see from the photo at the top of this article, they were wrong.
Finally, a bit on the bizarre things that fish swallow. As a marine biologist, I have been witness to some crazy things inside of many a fish’s stomach. I once examined a cod that had swallowed another, smaller cod with a radio ID tag, and another cod when I worked in the Western Aleutians that had swallowed a Russian soda can. There is a great thread on this at the Alaska Outdoors Supersite. Some of the most impressive things that people mentioned were a whole puffin swallowed by a halibut, a baby beaver inside of a pike, a bear paw inside a large halibut, and a sand anchor inside a Florida grouper. The best story by far, however, belonged to a guy who claimed he was fishing in Costa Rica and caught a large marlin. When the guide was cleaning it back at the dock, they slit the belly to find three long, soft packages wrapped entirely in duct tape. He began jabbering in Spanish to someone who brought two other people to see these packages. One of them offered the fisherman $90,000 in cash for the three packages without ever opening them. Whether true or not, it’s certainly a one of the best fish stories great. Do you have fish stories? Great stomach content or other crazy fish story? Leave it in our comments below.