A 102-pound prehistoric “river monster” was reeled in by a kayaker after an epic hour-long struggle. Angler Robert Murphy was fishing in an Arkansas river when he hooked a North American paddlefish – a giant bony fish that was swimming around 50 million years before dinosaurs roamed the earth.
The fish is also known as a spoonbill because of its giant, flattened, blade-like bill that is between a quarter and one-third of its total body length. Murphy, who had been fishing for walleye on April 3, told Outdoor Life he battled for an hour to land the fish as it dragged his kayak up and down the Upper White River near Goshen.
The Fisheries Division of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission described the paddlefish as a “prehistoric river monster” and congratulated Murphy on his “remarkable catch.” It took Murphy another 20 hours to find somewhere to weigh his catch, eventually finding a FedEx office where the 71.5-inch-long fish officially tipped the scales at 102 pounds, just short of the 118-and-a-half pound state record.
Murphy reportedly ate the fish’s roe – a delicacy in gourmet circles, described as “a poor man’s caviar.”
Fun FACTZ: Paddlefish are toothless and do not pose any threat to humans, despite their size. Their preferred diet is zooplankton.