A Missouri fisherman was scared as hell after he caught this prehistoric nightmare

Brian Gratwicke, CC BY 2.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fishermen never know what’s lurking beneath the water when they cast their reels.

But one man never expected to see what he pulled out of the water. 

And a Missouri fisherman was scared as hell after he caught this prehistoric nightmare.

Missouri fisherman catches nightmare fish that can slither and live on land

An angler in Wayne County, Missouri, wasn’t sure if he caught a fish or a snake on a night fishing trip.

Josh Shipman was stunned by his unusual catch.

“I was like, Oh, my gosh, this is the biggest bass I’ve ever caught until I started seeing the snake scales,” Shipman told KFVS.

He caught a northern snakehead fish,  which is an invasive species in the United States that arrived from Asia.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) said the fish can grow up to three feet, it resembles a snake, and it has a “python-like coloration and pattern.” 

And the northern snakehead fish can breathe air, which lets it live for days on land until it can make its way back to water.

An aggressive predator, the snakehead eats birds, small mammals, frogs, and other fish.

Shipman placed it in a cooler where he thought it was secure.

But the snakehead got out of the cooler and slithered under a car while he was sleeping.

Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Eric Lemons said that these fish needed to be captured and killed because of the threat they pose to the ecosystem.

“These fish are very well versed in reproducing, so they multiply very quickly,” Lemons said. “They live outside of the water for a long time. They can travel through wet meadows and a wetland-type situation. So yeah, they’re set up to survive.”

The northern snakehead fish has wildlife officials worried 

Shipman caught the fifth reported northern snakehead in Missouri this year.

Another fisherman caught one in Wayne County a few days before Shipman.

MDC Fisheries Biologist Dave Knuth said the fisherman left the snakehead in a bag on land because he thought it would die.

“The angler recognized they had something different and researched the fish’s characteristics, and realized it was indeed a snakehead,” Knuth said. “The angler left it on the pavement for several hours thinking it would die, and it never did.”

It survived four hours on land until an MDC official could arrive to take it to the Army Corps of Engineers for examination. 

“When I picked up the fish, it was still very much alive,” MDC Wayne County conservation agent Jacob Plunkett said.

If they catch one , MDC officials are urging fishermen to sever the head or gut it before placing it in a bag.

The snakehead has “large mouths full of pointed teeth,” but officials don’t think it’s a danger to humans.

“They are aggressive when they’re defending their young this time of year,” Knuth explained. “This species exhibits extreme parental care by both the male and female, so when they are guarding their young fry, they can become very aggressive.”

But he said the worst he’s heard of is the snakehead biting at the ankles of a human.

The northern snakehead fish is the latest threat to the ecosystem from an invasive species lurking in the waters.

Patriot Political will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.