You’re looking at a super rare piebald tarpon.
Sport Fishing reports charter captain Clark Wright and one of his clients caught and released the rare piebald tarpon on June 5 while fishing off the coast of western Florida.
It might have been an ordinary day for Capt. Wright as he was taking two clients from New York fishing off Anna Maria’s coast in the Gulf.
But it turned into the fishing trip of a lifetime when he and the crew spotted a strange tarpon jumping and rolling in the distance.
“In my 20 years of tarpon fishing, I’ve never seen a tarpon like this before,” Wright told Sport Fishing.
From a distance, they could see the fish had an orange color and spots all over its body.
Using a live blue crab, they managed to hook the fish.
“I told the visiting angler and my mate that we had to get this tarpon to the boat,” Wright said.
After hauling it on board, the crew took DNA samples.
They sent to the samples to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Tarpon Genetics Recapture Program for testing.
“I have heard reports over my past ten years of tarpon like this, but never has someone retrieved a DNA sample to send to us,” said scientist Kathyrn Guindon. “It looks similar to a koi fish.”
This fish is considered a piebald tarpon because it has patches of unpigmented patterns.
Although, Guindon said the fish would have been classified as an albino fish in the 1930’s.
“In 1936, an ‘albino’ tarpon was caught and recorded,” Guindon said. “It actually hangs in the American Museum of Natural History — it looks just like this one.”
This piebald tarpon is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime find. I’d say Capt. Wright’s fishing clients definitely got their money’s worth.
What’s the rarest fish you’ve ever caught?