A rare, invasive redtail catfish was caught off a bridge in South Florida.
Florida is no stranger to the plight of invasive species (I.E. peacock bass, snakeheads, Mayan cichlids) but recently in South Florida angler Jesse Dierksen caught something much rarer.
A few weeks ago, Dierksen was fishing for another invasive species (clown knife fish) off a bridge over brackish water in South Florida with friends, when he felt a take on his line. He knew, after an odd, bull-doggish fight, that he had something else on his line beside a knife fish. After a short, head-shaking battle, one of Dierksen’s friends lowered the bridge net over the side into the darkness to hoist up an Amazonian redtail catfish.
This is not the first time this has been recorded in Florida, but it is the most recent in the past five years. The catfish is not native to Florida waters, and was more than likely an aquarium pet that grew too large for its habitat and was released by its owner into the vast canal system of South Florida.
The fish caught was only a juvenile when compared to maximum growth potential of the species, which well exceeds 100 pounds. This capture is definitely towards the top of the list of oddities spawned in Florida waters in quite some time, and that’s saying a lot for this state.