Friday, January 18, 2008

Monster Fish!

Check out this impressive beast (with photos)!


AWT said...

Thanks for this link, Nick. That's an impressive fish, to be sure.

I have a special place in my heart for sturgeon. My university collaborated on a project to radiotrack endangered Gulf Sturgeon on their migration up and down the Pascagoula River System here in Mississippi. One of their more notable accomplishments was identifying spawning grounds on the Leaf River, a site practically in the Hattiesburg city limits! I share that w/you because prior to this discovery, locals were reporting their sightings of "dolphins," "Sharks" or even "sea monsters" in this area! Of course, many old-timers that remembered catching sturgeon or had seen hooked specimens from the commercial fishing days knew better. On the day that I assisted my fellow grad students, I was shocked to see 6-plus-footers breaching the surface of the river!

A recent episode of "MonsterQuest" was devoted to giant fishes of freshwater, although I was somewhat baffled and disappointed that they didn't include sturgeon, which undoubtedly have accounted for lake and river monster sightings. That episode focused on "dangerous" or aggressive predatory species, and of course, sturgeon are anything but-- although if you try to restrain one bare-handed, their thrashing can inflict a nasty wound via their bony scutes!

I'm surprised how spiny the scutes still look on the fish in the photo- they really give it a reptilian appearance. Not lost on readers, I hope, was that the area of Canada in which the gentlemen caught the sturgeon has generated lots of monster sightings- especially Ogopogo and Cadborosaurus/Caddy (off the coast).
Cheers, mate!

Nick Redfern said...

Many thanks for the info! I deifnitely think that a lot of lake-monster legends can be traced to sturgeon.

Jon Downes' "Monster of the Mere" book shows how large catfish almost certainly account for some reports in the UK.

There's still those pesky long-necked ones to explain though...