Photo: New York Angler Fly Fishes for Bass, Lands Giant Goldfish Instead

by Jon D. B.

Imagine pulling a goldfish the size of a largemouth bass out of the lake. New Yorker Joe Selover doesn’t have to imagine: he just did it.

What’s an angler to do after catching a monster-sized aquarium pet in the wild? Photograph it then share it with the world, of course!

With a catch so impressive that we skipped both a barking snake and a reindeer cyclone to cover it, Joe Selover of North Syracuse has proven there’s gold in Onondaga Lake. Fishing the mouth of a small stream known as Bloody Brook, Selover brought himself in a goldfish larger than most fish bowls. His whopper, which you can see below, came in at 14 ½ inches Tuesday.

Armed only with his 4-weight fly rod and some classic wooly buggers, Selover says he set out to Onondaga Lake “looking for bass and carp.”

“And then I saw two goldfish,” he adds to local “I tried catching them a few times, but with no luck. But just as I was getting ready to leave, I finally hooked one.”

NY Giant is Not Your Grandma’s Goldfish

After great effort, and ten minutes of angling assisted by pedestrians, Selover brought in his golden trophy. Yet his net was still in the car! Through a moment of panic, the angler asked a gent nearby to hold his rod – with goldfish in tow – so he could run and retrieve it.

In the end, the debacle was worth it, as New York Joe now has permanent proof that he caught a near-15-inch goldfish. In a lake. With a fly rod.

Joe’s photo, however, doesn’t reflect the full majesty of his catch. He told that the goldie was “brighter and more colorful in person,” noting it had “quite the belly.”

As for where the overgrown pet (see: invasive Asian carp species) came from, Joe Selover speculates that someone’s old 5-gallon fish tank is to blame. Thanks to the illegal practice of “aquarium dumping,” people who tire of their aquatic pets will simply dump the contents into nearby freshwater. Apparently, the practice is more common than New Yorkers think, as goldfish are now present in several of the state’s waterways.

And when a carp species like goldfish are allowed to grow in nature, they can and will reach carp-like sizes. The only difference between Joe’s catch and the 10-cent goldfish at your pet store is that this one was allowed free range of growth. Confined to a tiny tank, however, and goldies, too, will be tiny.

In the end, Joe released his catch back into Onondaga Lake. His feelings on the matter?

“I’m definitely going to try and catch another,” he said.