Fishing’s a popular sport because of how exciting it is to never know what you’re going to catch. Poking your rod into the deepest, darkest depths may catch you a boot, but even rarer than that, you may discover an entirely new species, never-seen-before. Here are some of the most unique water creatures that have ever been reeled in from the sea.
What you’re looking at isn’t some Chinese new year lantern. This brightly colored fish is a swallowtail, caught in deep waters off of Kenya. Steve Wozniak caught this one, thought to be the current world record since it’s the first-ever submission received for this species!
According to the very few people who have caught one, its colors are so vibrant they’re almost neon.
A rare type of oarfish
This fish, caught in Norway, is a type of rare oarfish. It’s a long, strange creature that is sometimes called ‘The King of The Herrings’.
Silver but with a pink spine, the only previous examples found have washed up already dead, which makes this living specimen that was caught there truly unique.
Unfortunately, they live in the deepest, darkest depths of the sea, so the fish likely suffered from Barotrauma as it reached the surface, and probably wouldn’t have survived long.
Siamese Twin Pike
Pike are common fish present all around the world, but this one, caught in Lake Nippissing, Canada, appears to have two bodies connected to one single head.
But was this a mutant fish roaming the water, a total hoax, or a case of mistaken identification? Commenters have said it may simply be two fish who went for the same bait, and one got its head stuck in the other’s gills. If that’s the case, then this went from being the freakiest fish by far, to the dumbest ever caught.
This lobster, caught in Maine, has all the qualities of a normal crustacean apart from one key difference, it’s translucent.
Lobsters get their normal dark color from certain pigmentations, but mutations and diseases can change their colors, or in this case, take it away. This lobster has a genetic condition called Leucism which causes a partial loss of pigmentation, similar to albinism. That’s a 1 in a million catch.
But even rarer is this albino lobster on the right. White lobsters like this are the rarest of the rare.
One in 100 million lobsters is born albino. For example, in the state of Maine, over 100 million lobsters are caught every year. That means only about 2 of them are caught every year…
The coelacanth is a fish as hard to find as its name is to pronounce. Previously thought to have died out with the dinosaurs, it had been absent from fossil records for 80 million years. That is, until one was caught by fishermen in Indonesia.
As well as being older than human beings, these fish are much rarer than most because, according to the most recent estimates, there are as few as five hundred members of the species left. Speaking of ancient fish…
The frilled shark is what you’d draw if you were asked to come up with some sort of nightmare water-snake. Previously thought to have died out many millions of years ago, fishermen in Portugal hauled a living one up last year, and presumably, all jumped overboard immediately afterward.
They can grow up to 1.5 meters in length and have a triangular mouth filled with needle-sharp, toothbrush-like teeth designed to grab squid and the legs of any unsuspecting swimmers.
This fish that has kept angling experts enthralled since it was discovered. It’s a rare sub-species that had previously only been rumored to exist before being caught in 2014.
This bright yellow oddity bares spots of unpigmented patterns. It weighs 130 pounds and took 45 minutes to land and was more than happy to pose for the cameras in this first documented case.
Perhaps one of the most mysterious entries in the list, this faceless fish was described by scientists as being more like ‘two rear-ends on a fish’.
But while this fish is unique, its features – or lack of them – are not uncommon. Fish from the deepest parts of the ocean, or those living in caves, where there’s no light, often don’t have eyes and instead rely on bioluminescence to navigate.
Despite this being known, it still surprised experts when it was caught. The fish was probably a bit surprised too, but you couldn’t tell.
An unbelievably blue parrotfish
Parrotfish are common, but it’s not often you find one as vibrant as this one.
Known for their beak-shaped overbite, which they use to grind up rocks, they’re as goofy-looking as they are pretty. But this one is so blue it looks like it’s made of jelly, which means it’s presumably really hard to spot in that water.
This creepy looking thing is a type of deep-sea dragonfish. The Loosejaw is so-called because its jaw gapes open, held to its face only by a hinge-like bone.
It looks part-fish, part-mantis, part-surprised teenager spotting Justin Bieber on his hotel room balcony.
The man in Russia responsible for finding this has his own Instagram account where he showcases the absolutely bizarre catches he makes, including this truly terrifying Bearded Sea Devil.
Loosely describable as a ‘severed head on some tree roots’, this and the rest of his photo feed look like someone tried to draw all the Pokemon while in the middle of a fever dream.
Back to lobsters again! This one is two-toned.
Though not as rare as white lobsters, split-colored lobsters are estimated to occur only once out of every 50 million or more.
This one-eyed fish looks so much like a new Pixar character, it wasn’t long before the internet was crying ‘hoax’. However, it seems to be a real catch, and the story of how it came to be is equally fascinating and tragic.
This friendly looking guy is actually a malformed fetus of a pregnant bull shark that was caught off of La Paz, Mexico. Along with several, healthy, unborn pups, the cyclops baby was discovered in the uterus, and the rest is Internet history.
Armored sea robin
So-called for their impressive set of scales, armored sea robins crawl along the ocean floor instead of swimming, using fin-spines to guide them. This gives the impression that they’re walking on small, red fingers.
They’re edible too, at least according to the Pilipino fishermen who caught these examples, which means they as delicious as they are crazy.
Colossal squids are extremely rare, often only found washed up already dead due to the fact they live in deep water. This particular one, however, was the first recorded sighting of a mature colossal squid, captured near the Ross Ice Shelf. It was photographed alive in the water in 2007 holding onto a Patagonian toothfish.
Then a month later, an impressive 10 meter or 33 feet long specimen was caught and became the first one ever recorded and largest extant cephalopod scientifically documented.
Only 25 sightings have ever been made of this creature in history, and most had been found inside the stomachs of its predators, like sperm whales.
Amazing orange koi
Ever wonder what happened to that goldfish you flushed? Well, it’s back and it’s been hitting the gym. Well, okay that’s not strictly true. What Raphael Biagini is actually struggling to hold up, is an example of an orange koi.
© ABC News
It’s the largest of its kind to be caught wild, weighing over 30lbs. They’re related to goldfish, but technically not the same.
This fisherman from Manitoba, Canada, made the catch of a career that has spanned over 30 years when he landed this albino catfish, thought to be a one-in-a-million catch.
He described it as his ‘white whale’ and couldn’t have been happier. The fish, on the other hand, didn’t look too thrilled to see him.
Blue Chain Pickerel
Chain pickerels in their usual form aren’t much to write home about. So-called because they have a chain-link pattern on their sides, this one that was caught in New York this year has been sending people away scratching their heads thanks to its electric blue head.
Experts are stumped as to why it is this color. Did it ate too many jolly ranchers, or was it just a bit cold? Nobody is quite sure.
Despite the fact that the color isn’t an advantage to animals who want to – you know, not be seen and then eaten – there sure are a lot of bluefish around. For example, sometimes an incredibly rare mutation can happen in both rainbow and brown trout that turn them blue.
Blue trout, when they occur, will often be kept on hand by trout farms to impress an audience, as they occur approximately 1 time in a million. Trout come in so many unusual varieties that one man photoshopped a trout he had caught in an attempt to fool the internet. Still, that’s a beautiful fish!
If you came into this list knowing nothing about the humble trout, then buckle up because here’s one more. There are a few precious examples of ambitious fishermen who have managed to catch one of the rarest of trout sub-species: The Palomino, also known as the golden trout.
Cross-bred over generations from a Rainbow Trout and a West Virginia Golden Trout, they’re known for being a sparkling gold colour. They’re described as ‘sneaky’ but also ‘sensitive’, which means this fish also has the worst online dating profile on record.
Blue and Silver Mahi Mahi
In Mexico, mahi-mahi is called dorado, or “the golden one.” And for good reason, because out of the water they’re usually a vibrant greeney-gold in color, though they can slightly change shades to match their mood.
But occasionally, though very infrequently, they’ll come up as blue as the sky. This one, an enormous specimen with a bright blue mohawk of fins was caught in a resort in Southern California.
But even rarer than one in blue is one in silver. This one caught in the sea of Cortez, for instance, is an especially rare catch.
Sometimes you may wonder if nature is just trying to have a bit of fun at your expense. This fish, landed off the coast of Mexico, looks like a sunburnt turtle who left his shell in his hotel room.
It turned out to be a swellshark, an animal that lives in the Pacific Ocean and fills its belly to escape when approached by predators. So, a lot like me in high school.
Black Lake Sturgeon
This black lake sturgeon looks more like the shadow of another fish that’s just off-screen. But despite its shiny, unrealistically black coat, this fish is very real.
According to the man who caught it, it’s the first example of one caught since they began recording fish populations in the South Saskatchewan River in 1964.
Rare Golden Bass
The golden bass is so rare that academic articles are getting written about it. Thanks to its golden color, though, its chances of surviving in the wild are slim to none. But try telling this little guy, who looks determined to survive no matter what hooked bait is dangling in front of him.
Its golden color is partially due to a mutation. Typically, bass will produce a pigment that merges with the sunlight to make them go green – but this example lacks that ability, meaning that while others dim; it shines. Shine on, you crazy Bass!
A lot of creatures in the ocean have big, freaky mouths. The megamouth shark is an impressive example of this. Keeping to the deep water, they feed on plankton and jellyfish which they lure in with small lights known as photophores.
Since being discovered in 1976, fewer than 100 examples of this incredible creature have been filmed or caught, which makes them one of the rarest creatures on this list. It seems that the megamouth shark, despite its appearance, is good at keeping a low profile.
The only fish in this list that can be both eaten and used as a javelin, the Cornetfish is something very special. Though they normally grow to about a meter long, this particular example is on the extreme end of the spectrum in terms of size.
Caught off of Hawaii, one of the first things you’ll notice is that its mouth makes up the majority of its body, with only a cursory addition of some fins at the end. Its long mouth helps it reach narrow places in corals for the stuff that lives in them.
But if you think its mouth is weird, wait until you get a look at its toothbrush.
So, which catch did you think was the most amazing? And which unique water creatures would you like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments down below.