Snakehead Fish On in Central Park

I’ve subscribed to some free newsfeeds – Yahoo, NY Times, BBC News and a few others and when I run across an item that intrigues me, I star it for future reference.  Excluding Syria and the latest developments in the Boston Marathon bombing, last week was a fairly slow news week and if I were in charge of headlines at a major newspaper, here’s what I would run:  Snakeheads of Central Park.  Other stories on the front page would be Horsemeat Plant in New Mexico and Boraxo beats Bounty to clean up spills, more on this later.

If you’ve ever been fishing in Central Park, you might have caught a few bass, maybe a crappie or two, but it is said that a fish that looks like a snake and has a two rows of razor sharp teeth instead of fangs inhabits the waters of the Harlem Meer.  The locals call it Fishzilla and by all accounts it is a predator like no other and will eat anything in its path, including (perhaps) fishermen?  A native of the freshwaters of Korea, Russia and China, the snakehead is considered an invasive species in American waters.   It may be an urban myth, but some say Fishzilla can live under ice and maybe in ice, and on land for days on end.  As reported by Marc Santora and Vivian Yee in the New York Times, a fisherman, when asked what he would do if he caught one said, “RUN”.

I hear snakehead are good eating – somewhat of a delicacy in some parts of the world.  I bet you could make some “killer” split pea snakehead soup or maybe some Fishzilla balls seasoned in Cajon spices, battered and deep fried in peanut oil, like the gar balls featured on the Animal Planet show, Swamp’d.  I’d fry one up and serve as snakehead fish-n-chips.  Kids would probably love fishzilla sticks.

First Fish

First Fish

I must have been 6 or so judging from the car, a 1966 Chevy Impala, which looks like it had a few miles and years on it.  A great family cruiser.

This tiny bream, or perch – some call them sunfish – was the first fish I remember catching.  I caught it with a cheap Zebco rod and reel using a balled up piece of bread for bait in a pond on the site of the historic Old Mill in North Little Rock where I grew up.  The Old Mill is famous for appearing in one of the opening scenes in Gone with the Wind.

The Old Mill, down on Lake #2 is a pretty good walk from my house, so I must have carried that fish around with me for a while.  I’d have thrown it back, but wanted my picture first.

Old Mill, No. Little Rock, AR

I started fishing a few years before – around ’67 or ’68 with my grandpa crappie-jigs-002up in Northwest Arkansas.  He’d take me and my sister out to Beaver Lake, 23,000 acres of freshwater near Rogers, AR extending into Missouri, and Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma to fish for Crappie.  Yes, that’s the name of the fish, pronounced \ˈkrä-pē\.  We’d rent a boat with an outboard motor and spend the day fishing with Crappie Jigs and live minnows.  It was fun, but I don’t remember catching any fish until I was a little older.  Gagan (my grandpa) reeled ’em in one after the other.

Fresh Crappie Catch