Here's a fisherman's story that's no tall tale.
After a 25-minute battle, UK angler Andy Hackett caught a colossal carp, nicknamed "The Carrot," that weighed in at a staggering 67 pounds, 4 ounces (30 kilograms). The giant fish is believed to be the second largest of her type ever to be caught, according to BlueWater Lakes, the fishery in France's Champagne region where the giant lives.
With its striking orange color, the massive goldfish-like creature easily stands out as it swims below the water's surface. The Carrot, however, has proven to be a challenge to catch. Hackett landed the prized fish, a hybrid of a leather carp and a koi carp, on November 3 while visiting the lake site.
"With normal fish, you struggle to see them if they're just under the surface, but The Carrot is obviously bright orange so you can't miss it," Hackett told BBC. "It's a much sought-after fish, not many people have caught it, it's quite elusive."
BlueWater Lakes provides anglers with a private spot to try a hand at pulling in one of its many fish weighing over 50 pounds (22.7 kilograms) — and some even over 90 pounds (40 kilograms).
"We put The Carrot in about 20 years ago as something different for the customers to fish for. Since then it has grown and grown but it doesn't often come out," fishery manager Jason Cowler told the Daily Mail. "It's not the biggest resident in the lake, but by far the most outstanding."
After Hackett pulled in Carrot and had her weighed, she was released back into the lake. The fishery has a "no retention" rule put in place, so anglers never carry the fish onto land. The BlueWater team also noted on its Facebook page that the fish are treated for any injuries before their prompt release back into the water.
The fishery has monitored Carrot's growth fairly often, as she was pulled in nine times by fishermen last season. After breaking the 60-pound (27-kilogram) mark for the first time in February, the carp swam free for nine months until Hackett reeled her in.
The average domestic goldfish weighs less than a pound, but the species can reach much bigger proportions in varying circumstances. If given lots of space, with the proper diet and water conditions, carp species, including goldfish and koi, have the potential for a large amount of growth, which explains Carrot's impressive size.
Often the largest found goldfish are unwanted pets that have been released into the wild by their owners. Discarded animals can negatively impact the delicate balance of a natural habitat. Invasive, football-size goldfish were found in a lake in Burnsville, Minnesota, in July 2021, resulting in city officials pleading with residents to not release their aquatic pets into the lake, as they could harm the local environment.
"A 70-pound carp is a really big, impressive fish," said Dr. Zeb Hogan, research biologist at the University of Nevada, Reno, and former host of the "Monster Fish" show on the National Geographic Channel. "There are actually different kinds of carp that are relatives of goldfish, that get really big, that are found in Europe and Asia — some of which can get up to about 500 pounds."
The growth seen in these hefty fish is referred to as indeterminate growth, a condition in which animals grow rapidly when young and continue to increase in size after reaching adulthood, according to Hogan.
"They just keep growing, the longer that they live," Hogan said. "It'll just keep growing and getting bigger, and maybe in a few years someone else will catch it and it'll be even bigger."
The fishery team said on Facebook that Carrot is "in excellent health and condition," and could even live for another 15 years or more. "Long may her stardom continue," the team added.
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