Caleb Newton earned himself a world record this week after snagging a huge snakehead fish, beating out the existing 2004 record that was made in Miki Kagawa, Japan.
Snakehead fish, often referred to as "Frankenfish," are an invasive species in Virginia and other areas in North America.
The 27-year-old fisherman caught the 17-pound, six-ounce giant in Aquia Creek on June 1. His catch has been confirmed and certified by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).
“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, reported Free Lance Star
Vitek explained Newton has actually broken two records, the all-tackle record for the northern snakehead and also the record for the 20-pound line class.
The previous record was 17 pounds, four ounces.
It is expected Newton will also capture the record in Virginia as well. According to the Washington Times
, the angler should be recognized within the next month.
Last year another Virginia man
had been announced to catch a record-breaking sized snakehead fish, but it appears his record was lost on a technicality. Juan Duran's snakehead catch was made in the Occoquan River and weighed in at 18.37 pounds. The technicality was he failed to officially capture the length and girth of the fish, which IGFA needs for its records.
"Frankenfish" are not a desired occupant in Virginia's waters. The Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries
regulations regarding snakehead fish catching and ownership are stringent. These fish are known for eating everything in the waters and disrupt local ecosystems. The U.S. and Canada both have restrictions on this species.
The fish is native to Asia and were first found in the U.S. in 2002 in a pond located in Crofton, Md., which is in the Washington, D.C. area. According to media reports, snakeheads had originally been imported. Since the 2002 find, its presence has spread to many other waters.
This record-breaker is not the first large snakehead Newton has caught.
“I caught one 13 pounds on Saturday, and that one fought harder” than the world-record fish, Newton said.