An enormous goldfish weighing 9lbs, 15 times bigger than the regular pet, was found in a South Carolina lake.
The ‘Frankenstein’ fish is about 15 inches long and was discovered during a routine fish survey in a lake in Greenville.
The 15in-long creature, which has been compared to the Loch Ness Monster, leapt out of the 65-acre lake while the fishermen were electrofishing, because it was too big to be paralysed by the small voltage.
Ty Houck, 49, and his team temporarily stun the fish so they float to the surface to be counted, documenting the health of the fish population in the city’s lakes.
The large 15in-long goldfish was found during a fish health exercise in the lakes of Greenville, South Carolina
The director of greenways, natural and historic resources at Greenville County Parks, Recreation and Tourism board, described the moment the mammoth fish was caught.
He said: ‘The dude had basically been hiding out for a couple of years and the jolt had just woken him up.
‘As it was non-invasive I thought we should keep it- every lake needs its own Lock Ness Monster.’
He explained that after spotting him, the group of fishermen measured him and put him back in the water where he swam back into the depths.
Fishermen were shocked when the enormous creature, weighing 9lbs leapt through the water in front of them
‘It’s funny, a friend had come along just before and proclaimed ‘I fish here all the time and there’s never any fish’ – boy, was he wrong,’ he added.
‘It’s not a mutant fish – we’re not downstream of a nuclear power plant.’
Goldfish are traditionally found in pet shops and fish bowls, growing no larger than the container they live in, and only an inch or so in length.
Living for more than 10 years and a popular pet: The goldfish
The typical pet goldfish usually lives for around ten years, and that life expectancy can increase to as much as 30 years in ponds.
According to National Geographic, those living in the wild have an average lifespan of around 40 years.
The popular pets, which are a type of carp, can grow anything between four and 16 inches and weigh around 0.2 to 0.6 pounds.
By comparison, in the wild, the fish can reach as much as 5lbs.
While they usually keep to a reasonable size for their tank, if released into the wild with enough food and room to move they can grow much bigger.
The world’s longest goldfish found by the Guinness Book of World Records was 18.7inches.
Several large goldfish have been discovered in lakes across the world, including one weighing 3lbs in Lake St Clair, Michigan.
But goldfish owners are warned against releasing their pets into the wild as they can harm native fish populations.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records the longest goldfish ever discovered measured 18.7inches.
Lake expert Ty said: ‘Periodically we do a study of the health of the fish and aquatic plants, so we hired a company to come and do electrofishing so they could be inspected for lesions or indications of poor water quality, and then returned to the lake.’
He said it is harmless to the fish and added: ‘It’s not like The Simpsons Movie. My son referred to it as like “tasering the fish”‘
Ty said that his son, Graham, 15, who had just been picked up from school, went with colleague Scott Robinson of Lake Specialists Inc to complete the study, on November 16.
When he beckoned Ty over to see what they had found, he believed they were about to play a practical joke on him.
‘I thought they were going to throw a rubber snake on me or something!’ he said.
They presented him with the scaly behemoth, identified as a goldfish, not native to the lake but also non-invasive.
Ty speculates that the huge fish used to be someone’s pet, and they threw it into the lake.
When a picture of the shocking discovery was posted on Facebook, one man commented explaining he thought it may be his pet goldfish Lucky.
He said: ‘That is probably my old gold fish. I had to move and when packing him up my brother broke the container.
‘I had no other choice but to release him and hope for the best. Its name was Lucky.
‘This was 11 years ago. I was so sad. I truly hope that this was my fish because that means he lived and had a good life.’
That same day, a ‘tournament-sized’ 4.5 pound largemouth bass had also been spotted during the survey, along with crappie, bluegill and redear sunfish.
Often a large goldfish can be difficult to tell apart from a koi, but a koi has distinctive ‘barbs’ near its lips which are not seen on the Greenville fish, Ty said.
Oak Grove Lake is a small lake next to quite an urban environment with a lot of construction.
Ty said: ‘A month prior they drained the lake almost to like a half-acre puddle, as it had to be dredged to get sediment out from some nearby building work, and he survived that.
‘I bet all of the other fish were like ‘who’s this guy?’!’