With a professional charter guide at his side, 15-year-old Edwards Tarumianz knew he would be coming home with lots of fish in his cooler, but what he didn’t know was that one of those would be a rare, all-white catfish.
On the morning of June 28, the teen went fishing with Captain Richard Simms of Scenic City Charters in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Soon enough, Tarumianz had a bite on his line, but it wasn’t until they saw the fish’s odd coloration – or lack thereof –just as it breached the water’s surface.
“You may catfish for the rest of your life and never catch, or even see, another fish like that,” Simms noted on the Scenic City Fishing Charters Facebook page. “I’ve been catfishing seriously for 30 years—guiding for 17 of those—and that’s the first albino to ever come in my boat.”
While Simms seems confident that the white catfish is albino (with no melanin) the rare catch could also be leucistic (with low melanin). You can sometimes tell the difference by looking at the fish’s eyes. If they’re pink, that means the blood vessels are showing and there’s no color pigment, signifying albinism. If they’re a light blue or another color, the fish tends to be leucistic. But there isn’t always a clear-cut difference.
“Regardless, we all agree that it is a great and rare catch,” a TWRA spokesperson told Field & Stream.
“[Tarumianz] is one of the most polite young men I’ve ever had in the boat and one of the most accomplished 15-year-old anglers I’ve ever been around,” Simms shared. “It was a very special morning, capped off by a catfish unlike any I’ve ever seen before—and may never see again!”
Fellow Young Angler Caught Pending World Record Marlin
Another teenage angler showed off her skills with a rod and reel in much different water off the West Coast of Africa. Elizabeth Arn, just three years younger than white catfish angler Edwards Tarumianz, hopped on a boat with her father in search of record-breaking blue marlin.
Sure enough, that’s exactly what she found on the other end of her line.
For a half-hour, the 12-year-old Florida native and formidable fisherwoman fought with a near-600-pound marlin all on her own. Meanwhile, her father and the crew stood just a few feet away, unable to participate as it would disqualify her catch should it break the record.
Seated in a fighting chair, Arn remained cool and calm until finally, the massive fish reached the boat’s edge. Luckily, 115-inch-long and 624-pound monster qualified her for the Female IGFA Junior Angler record. Pending International Game Fish Association, the tween will have a world record under her belt well before she can even drive.