An angler has caught a goldfish weighing almost 70 pounds – a carp so big-bellied that some on social media have branded her “a monster,” while others likened her to “a big lump of gold” or a flame-colored beauty.
“Carrot,” as the goldfish is affectionately nicknamed, was reeled in by British angler Andy Hackett at Bluewater Lakes in Champagne, France, earlier this month and became a bit of a celebrity Tuesday as broadcasters in the United Kingdom went for the story hook, line and sinker.
Carrot is a hybrid species of a leather carp and a koi carp, and is being described by British newspapers as one of the biggest goldfish in the world, as photos of Hackett holding up his prize with both hands made headlines in the U.K. Both the Daily Mail and the BBC began referencing the 1975 shark thriller “Jaws,” with the Daily Mail’s headline screaming, “We’re gonna need a bigger fish bowl!”
“I always knew The Carrot was in there but never thought I would catch it,” Hackett told British media. “’I knew it was a big fish when it took my bait and went off side to side and up and down with it.”
After Hackett posed for photos with his catch, she was released back into the waters – much to the joy of those reading about her on social media.
Like all species of carp, the domestic goldfish, also known as Carassius auratus, can balloon to epic sizes, growing as large as its habitat and resources allow.
Carrot, who most recently weighed in at 67.4 pounds, was placed in Bluewater Lakes, the French fishery, more than a decade ago, and has been described as “very elusive” by Jason Cowler, a fishery manager there. She has been caught a number of times before but only surpassed 60 pounds earlier this year, the fishery wrote.
Even before her recent fame, Carrot was somewhat of a celebrity in the fishing world. Anglers flock to the fish farm from all over the world, hoping to catch her or one of the other giant species found in the lakes. The venue, owners say, is booked out for the foreseeable future.
“Any carp angler who knows about Bluewater knows about The Carrot!” Keen fisher and fellow Briton Ian Allan, 49, told the Washington Post on Tuesday, adding that the golden fish was one he would “love to catch.” Allan said it is notoriously hard to get a booking at the venue, which has a strict catch-and-release policy and is home to fish weighing up to 90 pounds.
“The fish are very carefully looked after when caught due to their sheer size,” he said.
The Bluewater Lakes team has also emphasized on its official Facebook page that “utmost care is taken when all our carp are caught,” adding that fish are treated for any injuries and never removed fully from the water. All photos are taken on a floating mat in case the catches decide to flip, they said.
The fishery said that Carrot is “in excellent health and condition” and about 20 years old, and predicted that Carrot could live (and grow) for another 15 years. “Long may her stardom continue,” it added.
While giant goldfish often garner interest and admiration, they can also be a nuisance, experts say.
The Washington Post reported last summer that pet goldfish that had been released into lakes could grow rapidly in their new habitats, swelling to the size of footballs and wreaking havoc.
The species made a splash in the United States last year, when officials in Burnsville, a city about 15 miles south of Minneapolis, pleaded with locals not to dump unwanted pets in local lakes, which they said was causing an infestation that was aggravating water quality.
The fish were blamed for stirring up sediments, uprooting plants and exposing the wild fish population to new diseases.
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