Have You Seen This Fish?

By: Stephanie Shoop
By: Stephanie Shoop

A camping trip to Cape Lookout National Seashore netted us a mystery catch.

We spent the end of last week at Cape Lookout National Seashore, camping on the beach there for the first time.

It was truly remarkable... the special time with family, the sense of solitude, the stars and the sea. (The gusting winds that sand blasted our skin for several hours Friday night... not so much... but nothing's perfect, right?)

My daughter and son, along with their cousins, spent hours fishing in the sound. They caught all sorts of fish, most we recognized.

But my daughter reeled in one that baffled us all. Unfortunately, we didn't take a photo before getting it back in the water. But thanks to the internet, we located a picture of what we all agree is "the" fish.... or at least one that looks just like it.

Online reports show the sailfin catfish is native to South America. It is used in aquariums though, and it has been found in the wild in some spots in the States. Some suggest aquarium releases are responsible.

If you've ever encounted something like this in North Carolina or other waters, we'd love to hear about it!


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  • by Memories Location: Beaufort County on Aug 12, 2010 at 09:18 PM
    This is how my Mom got her pet crocodile from the Tar River in Tarboro when she was young. My Grandma wouldn't let her keep it in the house so she had to keep it in the neighbor's bathtub. Strange what you will find in the water isn't it!
  • by Doug Location: Elizabeth City on Aug 9, 2010 at 07:50 PM
    The fish in the picture is a freshwater fish. You likely caught a common sea robin which has a similar appearance
  • by Tina on Aug 2, 2010 at 05:40 PM
    yep it does appear to be a Hypostomus plecostomus. Which is a large fish known to the freshwater tropical Central and South American area. They are also known as Large Algae eaters. they can grow up to 2ft and probably even bigger if they are in an area where they can grown adequately. Plecostomus catfish are some of the more commonly known algae eaters used in ponds and aquariums. Shocking though that you found that in the ocean since they are more used to freshwater areas.
  • by Doris Location: Swansboro,NC on Aug 2, 2010 at 05:30 PM
    My grand kids have one of those fish if there fish tank ,lol,some one must have turned one lose,ya can't killem in a tank,they are tough.lol

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