Catching A Bite

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A fisherman in North Carolina went out to catch a bite to eat. And did. In fact, he's lucky he didn't end up on the menu himself.

The piranha was hungry.

MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. – A fisherman looking to catch a catfish for dinner instead reeled in a fish that flashed its teeth and bit his knife. Jerry Melton, 46, was fishing in the Catawba River last week when he caught what state wildlife officials later identified as a piranha, a South American carnivorous fish that lives in freshwater.

"When I got it on the bank I didn't really know what it was; I hadn't seen anything like it before," Melton said.

When Melton opened the fish's mouth with a pocketknife, he said the fish bit down and left an impression on the blade.

Wildlife officials told Melton on Saturday that he caught a 1 pound, 4 ounce piranha that was probably dumped in the river. Melton was fishing in Mount Holly, a town northwest of Charlotte.

The catch highlights the growing problem of people keeping exotic animals and fish as pets and later dumping them into local waters, said Paul Barrington, an ichthyologist with the Fort Fisher Aquarium. Earlier this year, another fisherman caught a snakehead fish — also a nonnative fish — in Lake Wylie near Charlotte.

We here at Blue Crab Boulevard have our doubts about the bit about the impression left on the knife blade by the piranha, however. Unless the Animal Uprising™ is fitting the fish out with tool steel teeth. Although that is a possibility. We also have to point out that North Carolina, the North of England and North Dakota have all had reports of piranha swimming in their waters. We see a common thread there. Obviously piranha take their orders literally.

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