David Ray, of Rydal, has been fishing Allatoona for 50 years and has never landed a fish like the one he caught on April 25.
The morning began like any other. Every time David goes fishing, he catches his own bait to fish with. Typically, he goes for threadfins.
“Early Monday morning, I landed a 3- to 4-pound striper,” said David. “Around 7:30, I caught another fish. This was something I have never seen in my whole life. This fish had the body of a hybrid-striped bass, but from the gills up, it looked like it had the head of a largemouth bass. I showed multiple people after I caught this fish, and no one knew what it was.”
After showing this fish around and taking it to a few bait shops, no one knew what this fish could be. David kept the fish, and then contacted WRD Fisheries hoping to get enlightened on what kind of fish he caught. This led to Fisheries Biologist Jim Hakala, who works at the Calhoun office.
“There is no doubt this is an interesting looking fish,” said Jim. “Just from looking at the pictures, it looks like a hybrid-striped bass with a head deformity. These sort of deformities form at a very early stage while in the egg. What caused this deformity? It could be a number of things. Possibly a nutrition issue. This is a very rare fish. Fish with deformities of this kind usually do not survive, so it makes this fish even more rare that it survived and was healthy.”
Possibly a one-in-a-million fish. Jim said judging by the picture, it looks like a 3-year-old fish. It’s certainly a very memorable and special fish for David.
“It was one of those moments when you think something will never happen, but it did,” said David. “This fish may just be going on the wall.”