Va. Man Hauls in 3-foot ‘Frankenfish’

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In this undated handout photo from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a northern snakehead fish is held. The northern snakehead, dubbed "Frankenfish", is an invasive species from Asia that threatens North American ecosystems.   (Photo credit: the SDA via Getty Images)

In this undated handout photo from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a northern snakehead fish is held. The northern snakehead, dubbed “Frankenfish”, is an invasive species from Asia that threatens North American ecosystems. (Photo credit: the SDA via Getty Images)

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — A Virginia man hauled in a 3-foot northern snakehead that could be world record for the predator fish known as “Frankenfish.”

Caleb Newton caught the 17-pound, 6-ounce fish in a Potomac River tributary on Saturday, the Free Lance-Star reported. The world record now stands at 17 pounds, 4 ounces, caught in 2004 in Japan, according to the International Game Fish Association.

Newton said he landed the monster on 15-pound line and a light rod and it barely fit into his cooler.

Newton, 27, took the fish to a sporting goods store in Ashland to have it weighed on a certified scale. Monday, he took the snakehead to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ office in Fredericksburg. Virginia has no snakehead category for record fish.

To claim the world record for a snakefish, Newton must submit an application to the IGFS that includes details on the fish and the scale used to weigh it, said Jack Vitek, world records coordinator for the Dania Beach, Fla., association.

“Once he submits all of that, I’ll review it, and then it will be reviewed by our staff biologist,” Vitek said. The organization will make its decision within two months, he said.

Meantime, the fish will be mounted, said Newton, a Spotsylvania County plumber.

The snakehead is native to China, Korea and Russia. It can breathe air, survive on land and adapt and thrive in foreign environments.

It was first discovered in a Maryland pond in 2002 and since then has spread into several Chesapeake Bay tributaries.

Some have dubbed it “Frankenfish” for its fearsome appearance and adaptability.

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(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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