When Jamie Schmidt, the animal control officer for the Olathe Police Department, received a call about a four-foot-long, dead carp in a drainage ditch, she thought it was a joke.
“I was in disbelief when he told me it was four feet,” Schmidt told the Kansas City Star. “I know how men like to tell fish stories. I was sure it would be a lot smaller.”
It was smaller, but not by a lot. The 3.5-foot grass carp weighed about 60 pounds and was so heavy that Schmidt had to drag it to her truck by wrapping it in trash bags.
“It was so heavy and it was still wet, so it was all slippery,” Schmidt told KCTV. “I was all excited and took a picture with it and told all my friends, ‘This is my big catch of the day.’”
She thinks that the giant fish may have ended up in the ditch after heavy rain flooded nearby Persimmon Lake. The massive carp likely swam into the ditch and was unable to leave before the water subsided, trapping it there.
An avid angler herself, Schmidt said she had never seen anything like it.
“I didn’t realize my summer would be this interesting,” Schmidt said.
Grass carp are large and powerful fish often used to control aquatic weeds. They are not considered an invasive species in Kansas and enjoy moderate popularity with anglers, who value the fish for their ferocity on the line. The current state record for grass carp belongs to Kenneth Mosby, Jr. of Kansas City, who reeled in a behemoth 77.75-pound fish from Atchison Lake in 2012. In the wild, grass carp can grow up to 80 pounds and eat about three times their weight daily. This makes them especially efficient for controlling the growth of noxious weeds.
Grass carp also have a reputation for being one of the more palatable carp species currently in North America. Their flesh is described as white, smooth, and tender with little sign of the fishy carp taste that many people dislike. Pound for pound, grass carp also provide a good portion of meat for their weight.
Unfortunately, this carp will not be feeding anybody soon. The Olathe Police Department confirmed that the fish was incinerated shortly after its retrieval.
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