Carrot the fish might be the largest goldfish ever caught.
Andy Hackett knew he’d hooked something big. While fishing at Bluewater Lakes in Champagne, France, the British angler struggled for 25 minutes to pull in his catch. When he spotted a flash of orange in the distance, he realized that he’d snared “The Carrot,” a legendarily large goldfish.
Sure enough, Hackett had managed to catch and reel in the 67-pound — and aptly named — leather carp and koi hybrid fish.
“I always knew The Carrot was in there but never thought I would catch it,” Hackett raved after the catch, according to the Daily Mail.
“I knew it was a big fish when it took my bait and went off side to side and up and down with it. Then it came to the surface 30 or 40 yards out and I saw that it was orange. It was brilliant to catch it but it was also sheer luck.”
The Carrot’s bright color, Hackett explained to the BBC, made it easier to spot than other fish. But it still presented a challenge.
It’s a “much sought-after fish. Not many people have caught it; it’s quite elusive,” he said, noting that The Carrot was, nonetheless, a pretty slow swimmer.
According to the Daily Mail, Hackett celebrated the catch with a cup of tea and released The Carrot back into Bluewater Lakes, where the fish has been swimming for 20 years. As People reports, the goldfish was first released as a guppy by fishery manager Jason Cowler.
“We put The Carrot in about 20 years ago as something different for the customers to fish for,” Cowler told the Daily Mail. “Since then it has grown and grown but it doesn’t often come out. She is very elusive.”
Cowler added: “She is in excellent health and condition. Congratulations to Andy on a great catch.”
The Carrot is a great catch indeed. As the Daily Mail reports, the French fish might be the largest goldfish ever caught. It is 30 pounds heavier than a goldfish caught in Minnesota by Jason Fugate in 2019, and more than double the size of an orange carp caught by Raphael Biagini in France in 2010.
Goldfish kept as pets are usually much smaller, generally between 0.2 to 0.6 pounds. But once released into the wild, these brilliantly-colored fish can grow to epic proportions. And unlike The Carrot, who was released purposefully by a fishery, many are tossed into lakes and ponds by their owners.
In the United States, pet goldfish released into bodies of water have caused havoc in recent years. Not only do they grow — and grow — but they can survive under harsh conditions. And their habit of stirring up sediment while foraging for food along lake bottoms can wipe out native plants.
As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service explained in an article entitled How To Break Up With Your Goldfish: “After you reenact Free Willy with your goldfish, you may be horrified to learn that under the right conditions it will survive and grow. And grow. Like, really BIG.”
That said, there don’t seem to be a lot of goldfish out there like The Carrot. But anyone eager to catch a glimpse of this enormous and elusive goldfish — or even catch it on a hook — will have to be patient. As the BBC reports, Bluewater Lakes currently has a five-year waiting list.
After reading about the catch and release of Carrot the goldfish, see how fishermen in Indonesia caught a shark with a “human face.” Or, delve into the baffling story of the “nightmare shark” reeled in by a fisherman in Australia.