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Catfish With Basketball Photographs

Summary:
Email claims that photographs of a large catfish with a basketball stuck in its mouth were taken at Lake Macquarie in NSW, Australia (Full commentary below).



Status:
Photographs are genuine but location details are false.

Example:(Submitted, February 2007)
Subject: Fish Story - incredible

Fish Story

A guy who lives at Lake Macquarie (50 miles north of Gosford) saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange in the lake and went to investigate.

It turned out to be a flathead catfish who had obviously tried to swallow a basketball which became stuck in its mouth!!

The fish was totally exhausted from trying to Dive, but unable to because the ball would Always bring him back up to the surface. The bloke tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish.

You probably wouldn't have believed this, if you hadn't seen the following pictures...

Catfish with ball in mouth 1

Catfish with ball in mouth 2

Catfish with ball in mouth 3

Catfish with ball in mouth 4

Catfish with ball in mouth 5



Commentary:
These photographs of a catfish with a ball stuck in its mouth are genuine. However, the location specified in the description is incorrect. The stricken catfish was actually rescued from Sandalwood Lake in Kansas during May 2004. The story and pictures were first featured in the Wichita Eagle newspaper on 30 May 2004. The article identified the man shown in the images as Bill Driver, a local fisherman. Soon after the newspaper article was published, the photographs began circulating as an email forward. Original versions (see example below) correctly identified the source of the information and the location where the photos were snapped.

However, new versions of the text emerged that changed the location and omitted references to the original newspaper article. The version shown above moves the action halfway around the world to NSW, Australia. Alternate versions have falsely listed the location as Pueblo Reservoir in Colorado, Lake Conroe in Texas, the Red River in North Dakota and several other places.

Emails that contain photographs of unusually large animals, or animals caught in unusual circumstances, often mutate as they travel. Some recipients of such emails apparently see fit to change location details to reflect their own regional areas before sending the message on. Versions of a message containing the same images of a very large Sturgeon caught by a group of fisherman claim several different US and Canadian locations for the catch. Another message with a photograph of a large alligator with a deer in its mouth also sports versions set in various US states. And people from several different areas of Australia were quick to claim regional "ownership" of a very large feral pig photographed after being shot by an unidentified hunter.

Original version:
FISH STORY FROM WICHITA EAGLE NEWSPAPER

This was a pretty interesting story from The Sunday Wichita Eagle Newspaper a couple of weeks ago. A resident in the area saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange in Sandalwood Lake and went to investigate. It turned out to be a flathead catfish who had obviously tried to swallow a child's basketball which became stuck in its mouth!! The fish was totally exhausted from trying to dive, but unable to because the ball would always bring him back up to the surface. The resident tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish.

You wouldn't believe it if you didn't see the attached photos.

[Message contained the same photograph shown above]


References:
Wichita Eagle
Fishermen BEWARE..
Giant Fraser River Sturgeon Photograph
Photos of Big Gator With a Deer in its Mouth
Giant Feral Pig Photograph

Last updated: 12th February 2007
First published: 12th February 2007

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen