Following a long day’s fishing on a river in Lillooet, Canada, Nick McCabe is somewhat disappointed with his haul. But suddenly the teenager catches sight of something leaping into the air from the water. Could it really be? With friends by his side, he tells them to hang on, as their boat goes darting after the creature.
During August 2016, McCabe was working as a guide on the Fraser River for a fishing company that provides tours. And located in the Canadian province of British Columbia, this stretch has a reputation for housing some incredibly large fish. So with that in mind, the young fisherman remained eagle-eyed as he took clients out on the water.
Now, McCabe was joined by a group of buddies on one particular day, aiming to write his name into local folklore. But as we previously mentioned, the trip appeared to backfire on the group, since they struggled to find anything of note. However, their luck changed in a big way later on.
After a potential catch was sighted, McCabe and his group set off after it. Once he hooked it, the guide engaged in an epic tussle with the creature, desperate to bring it in. By the end of the fight, he reeled in the giant fish, and made a bit of history in the process.
Every year people take part in a number of different outdoor activities, enjoying themselves with their friends and family. Whether it’s a hiking trip or simply playing a sport, these pastimes still have the power to bring people together. On that note, fishing can certainly be included in that category.
Compared to other activities and sports, fishing appears to be quite relaxing on the surface. Indeed, there are many occasions when fishermen can just take in their surroundings while waiting for a bite in the water. However, as we’re about to discover, that’s not always the case in certain parts of the world.
For instance, the Fraser River has been a hotbed of activity in recent years, with visitors encountering some truly record-breaking fish. And a British couple could definitely attest to that, as Margaret and Michael Snell snagged a huge catch in July 2012. In fact, it proved to be a very significant find.
Incredibly, the Snells managed to reel in a sturgeon that measured over 12-feet in size. As a result of the discovery, a new world record was reached. After that, more sturgeons were found in the river, with one of those hitting the headlines in the summer of 2014. And as we’ll soon find out, this fish was particularly heavy.
To celebrate Father’s Day that year, a man named Paul Jarvis had a treat for his dad. Yes, the pair, who hailed from Atlanta, Georgia, traveled up to British Columbia for a fishing adventure on the Fraser River. And while it’s suggested that Jarvis was aware of previous stories, not even he could’ve predicted what happened next.
You see, while Jarvis was out on the river with his father Ron, he felt a bite on his fishing rod. And before long, he realized that this wasn’t a standard catch. Speaking to U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail in June 2014, he said, “In the first few minutes I had it on the line I couldn’t believe the weight and power of the fish.”
As Jarvis continued to explain, “I’m a big guy but could barely hold on to the rod, let alone begin to reel the fish [in]. As I battled the fish my dad handed me water to keep hydrated, and held on to my fighting belt and harness. When I saw the head come out of the water it was massive.”
In the end, it took Jarvis and his guides over an hour to reel it in, leading to a stunning visual. With the sturgeon in their possession, the father and son posed for an eye-catching photograph in the river. As for the measurements, it was slightly smaller than the world-record holder.
For you see, this sturgeon was 11-feet in size – but weighed around 900 pounds, leaving Jarvis stunned. “I knew the trip was going to be great,” he told the Daily Mail. “But [I] never thought we’d hook a 900 pound sturgeon.” Once the figures were recorded, the fish was then given a tag ahead of returning to the water.
For, as you might guess, these fish are protected, with the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society keeping track of their movements. And since 1997, the organization has been working hard to ensure the survival of the creatures. So with that in mind, one of the society’s members revealed a bit more about what they do.
“In almost 20 years we’ve collected over 130,000 samples,” Sarah Schreier told CBC News in August 2016. “We’ve deployed over 64,000 tags. And with a large sample size for a research study like this, it allows us to have a very, very high confidence level in our reporting on the population estimates, the abundance estimates for the area that we sample.”
Given the effort it would take to catch and tag a large sturgeon, the organization receives help from local fishing companies. And one of them is River Monster Adventures, first started back in 2011 by now owner, Jeff Grimolfson. Since then, countless tours have been offered to visitors who want to snag their own “monster.”
Meanwhile, the company’s website provided some background on Grimolfson, who was no stranger to fishing. “Coming from a commercial fishermen family,” read a post on the site’s About page. “Our expert Pro-Guide Jeff Grimolfson first stepped on a fishing vessel at the very young age of two and has been on the water ever since.”
And the post continued, “Operated by his grandfather Olie from a homestead on Hecla Island in Lake Winnipeg, Jeff grew to become very involved in the family business’ rich commercial and sport-fishing history. And [he] was a regular fixture on vessels all his life, making his living from the water just like his father before him.”
However, everything changed in 2005 when Grimolfson caught a sturgeon for the first time in British Columbia. After that, he frequented the Fraser River for over a decade, keeping an eye out for the huge fish. And as time went on, the River Monster Adventures owner found a like-minded partner.
Yes, the website revealed, “Jeff’s partner in crime is Jen Shareski, who after only one trip out was hooked herself by the incredible size and wild struggle required to landing these prehistoric monsters. She’s caught several herself now over the years.” At that stage, something was made very clear to the readers.
Indeed, the site reiterated the views of the Sturgeon Conservation Society, touching upon what happens when the fish are nabbed. As the post explained, “Jen and Jeff practice safe handling with every sturgeon caught, and every fish is released carefully in a very practical and pro-actively healthy manner. Each white sturgeon is then logged in our records and with the province of British Columbia.”
Now, around five years after River Monster Adventures opened for business, a teenager named Nick McCabe joined the company. And in the summer of 2016 he embarked on his debut season as a guide, leading visitors up the Fraser River. But no one could’ve predicted what eventually transpired over that season.
As we mentioned earlier, McCabe and a group of friends hopped aboard a boat in August 2016. And the former was hoping to come across a big catch in the river. Yet, as the day went on, his plans appeared to go awry. With no signs of a good catch forthcoming, the group approached one final spot to round the trip off.
Looking back at that moment, McCabe spoke to CBC News in August 2016. He recalled, “We had fished all day pretty hard and struggled to get something to a good size for my group of friends that I had out. [Then] the last hole of the day there, we pulled in [to the area] and it happened right away.”
Indeed, McCabe finally found what he was looking for, as he sighted a huge creature. As the guide continued to explain, “The fish jumped right out of the river and I said, ‘Well, that looks like a 10-footer, so strap on, we’re going to be into at least a two-hour fight. And it ended up being two hours and 15 minutes.”
After McCabe got hold of the fish with his rod, a tense tussle ensued, with his friends joining the fight, too.But the situation was made harder by the teenager’s preferred approach, as he liked to use a short line. Due to that, the group had to stay close to their potential catch throughout.
As the guide explained to CBC, “At one point [the fish] had swam upriver against the current, and I was moving up the river with the boat following him. We just kind of do what he does, because a fish that large, he can snap the line, no problem.” Despite the struggles, though, the group eventually reeled in their foe. But little did they realize, yet, that this fish was in fact more unique than most.
Yes, because as it turned out, McCabe and company had caught a notorious sturgeon known as “Pig Nose.” For you see, the name comes from the fish’s very distinct appearance, sporting a pink snout. And prior to his capture, he’d built up a reputation over the last 40 years, as local fishermen couldn’t nab him.
But in an interesting twist, someone had managed to tag Pig Nose in the past. So although this wasn’t the first time he’d been caught, McCabe is believed to be the first fisherman to do it. Amazingly, the giant sturgeon is thought to be more than 80 years old, measuring at just over 10 feet in size.
Regarding Pig Nose’s weight, it’s estimated he comes in at around 650 pounds. And after McCabe caught him, Grimolfson shared some more information about the huge sturgeon, touching on his history. “His name is Pig Nose and you can see why – he damaged his nose 40 years ago,” the fisherman told Global News.
As Grimolfson continued to explain, “So when his nose healed, it looks like a pig nose. As the legend lives on, you’d be in a sporting goods shop and you’d hear, ‘My buddy was sure he had Pig Nose on the line.’ This fish has been the talk of fishing and sporting goods shops for years.”
Meanwhile, once McCabe nabbed the local legend, he explained what he did next. “I was given a tagging kit with microchips,” the guide told CBC News. “So every fish I catch, I scan completely, and if it’s a recapture, I take the length and girth of the fish and record that. And if he’s not tagged, I insert a microchip into him.”
In the case of Pig Nose, the data from the previous tag showed that he was still growing. Also, McCabe revealed that the sturgeon was in perfectly good health, before snapping some pictures with him in the water. And those images were subsequently shared on the River Monster Adventures’ Facebook page.
What’s more, the photos went on to garner plenty of attention as people flocked to see proof of the catch. You see, the post itself earned over 1,000 likes and more than 670 shares on Facebook. In addition to that, it generated in excess of 300 comments as well.
As for McCabe, Grimolfson was full of praise for the young guide following the incident. For you see, Pig Nose wasn’t the only notable catch that he’d made over the course of that summer. Alongside that, the business owner was very impressed with his determination and endeavor while out on the water.
Indeed, Grimolfson told Global News, “[McCabe’s] been doing really well all summer. He caught another really big fish a couple weeks ago. He saw it jump out of water and said, ‘I’m going to catch that fish.’ He fished in the same spot for four days and caught him. He is the sturgeon whisperer.”
However, this story had one more fishy twist in 2017. Yes, around 12 months after McCabe wrote his name into local folklore, he went out on the Fraser River again. And the guide saw something quite familiar in the water, which prompted him to act. As we’ll soon find out, it appeared a reunion was on the cards.
You’ve guessed it, McCabe had spotted Pig Nose once more, before pursuing him for the second time. And by the end of the rematch, the now twenty-year-old guide came out on top, again. Following another photo, the River Monster Adventures employee let him go. Touchingly, it seemed as if McCabe had grown attached to his long-bodied friend.
Yes, because off the back of that second encounter, McCabe spoke with CBC News again in October 2017, explaining what transpired. But compared to the first attempt, he managed to catch Pig Nose in around an hour. The fisherman said, “He might not be the largest fish in the river, but it’s a very special fish for us.”
As McCabe put it, “I had a gut feeling it was [Pig Nose]. Just the time of year and how the fish was acting. But as we got it up to the shore I was like, ‘This guy looks pretty familiar.’ He’s been through both world wars. He’s really old. [But] he’s still putting weight on, so that’s cool to see.”
Yes, as fishing experiences go, McCabe’s sounds pretty extraordinary. But this teen isn’t the only angler to have reeled in more than he bargained for. Take Texan Chase McCray, for instance, who was enjoying a regular outing to the creek when he suddenly hooked a dangerous creature.
As McCray stares at the end of his fishing line, he appears to be struggling to take in what he’s looking at. You see, while the experienced angler has managed to snag himself a substantial catfish, he’s also dragged a deadly creature out of the depths. And it seems that the cantankerous beast in question won’t be letting go without a fight, either.
But McCray may at least have his fishing knowledge to fall back on during the battle. Yes, judging by his social media, he’s an avid pursuer of the popular pastime. In McCray’s Facebook profile picture, for instance, he can be seen proudly showing off one of his catches, which appears to be one almighty catfish. And the angler has been snapped holding the monstrous water-dweller in one hand as he flashes the camera a small smile.
McCray shares regular updates about his fishing adventures on Twitter, too, where he posts under the username “ChaseThePlayBoy.” In one tweet from July 2019, the angler posted two images of himself holding yet another catch. And to make it clear how much he enjoys life by the water, he captioned the photos, “No place I’d rather be.”
In fact, fishing seems to be so important to McCray that in May 2019 he voiced his desire to find a woman who shared his hobby. Putting the request bluntly, the angler tweeted, “I need a female fishin’ partner.” It’s not clear, however, if someone answered his call for a like-minded lady.
Nevertheless, fishing appears to remain a firm fixture in McCray’s life. In July 2019, then, he set off to follow his passion at Langham Creek in Texas’ Harris County – the very area where he had also happened to go to high school. And while McCray may well be an avid angler, even he may not have have predicted what happened next. You see, on this occasion, the Texan reeled in much more than he was bargaining for.
Bayous are common features throughout America’s Gulf Coast – particularly on the delta of the Mississippi River. This means that both Louisiana and McCray’s home state of Texas are well known for the bodies of water. By definition, a bayou can be an area of marshland or a slow-flowing river or stream, although the term also describes a creek with a current that reverses once a day. And a bayou’s contents are higher in salt levels than freshwater, which in turn creates an ideal environment for some fish and plankton species.
Naturally, then, certain bayous are rich in marine life. And while species living in bayou water will vary from region to region, they may include catfish, shrimp and shellfish. That said, they may also contain crocodiles, alligators, snakes and leeches – meaning anglers need to have their wits about them when fishing there.
So while McCray’s native Harris County boasts the highest population in Texas, there are nevertheless opportunities for fishing enthusiasts like him to get close to nature. And in July 2019 the angler duly chose to escape to a bayou in the northwest of the county. During the trip, however, he got a nasty surprise when he reeled in his catch.
And what McCray found on the end of his line was so bizarre and unsettling that it almost beggared belief. The potentially lethal creature is captured on camera, too, and the resulting footage – which eventually appeared on McCray’s Twitter feed – reveals the fisherman’s incredulous response to the gruesome scene playing out in front of his eyes.
Initially, though, McCray’s video reveals the serene setting of his fishing trip. He is positioned in some long grass at the edge of the bayou, while a folding chair – which no doubt provided some comfort while he waited patiently for a tug on his line – can also be seen in the background. Yet the idyllic location acts in stark contrast to the horror unfolding on screen.
You see, while it’s clear that the angler has hooked himself a pretty substantial catfish, there’s no cause for celebration on his part just yet. Why? Well, as McCray’s footage shows, the fish had already been claimed by something much more fearsome than the fisherman’s line.
Yes, as McCray had pulled the catfish from the depths of the bayou, it quickly became obvious that it was not alone. And in the video that the fisherman subsequently filmed, the beast that has claimed the catch is revealed. Alarmingly, a huge snake has wrapped itself around the fish and already sunk its deadly fangs into its flesh.
Now that McCray has removed the creatures from the water, the catfish flaps its gills as it struggles to breath. Yet the snake refuses to loosen its grip on the ill-fated animal. Indeed, despite being exposed in such a fashion by the angler, the reptile is seemingly undeterred in its endeavor to claim his victim.
So, the snake simply dangles off the end of McCray’s line, holding the catfish firmly between its fangs as the two creatures spin together on the line. Needless to say, it’s a strange sight to behold – and the angler leaves the viewer to look upon it for some time, too.
After a little while, though, McCray turns the camera on himself. Now, he can be seen in a red T-shirt and a floppy sun hat, and he continues to hold on to the fishing rod that hosts the snake and fish. In reaction to the scene, though, all the angler can do is stare at the lens in disbelief. He then throws his unexpected catch another glance, as if to check it’s definitely real.
And in July 2019 McCray chose to share the footage on Twitter. It seems, too, that he took the unnerving incident in good humor, as alongside the incredible clip he wrote, “The things I go through with bayou fishing.” He also added a series of emojis, including two that signify crying with laughter.
It’s perhaps no surprise, either, that the bizarre video took off online, attracting nearly 55,000 retweets and more than 215,000 likes within a matter of weeks. The disturbing clip also provoked a lot of conversation on Twitter, with many of those who had watched the video seeming pretty creeped out by the prospect of reeling in a snake like McCray had.
In a particularly dramatic comment, one Twitter user expressed their intense mistrust of serpents. Making liberal use of the caps key in order to labor their point, they wrote, “Bruuuh, SEE THIS IS WHY I HATE SNAKES!!! THEY ON THE GROUND, THEY IN THE WATER AND THEY IN BE IN THE SKY IN THEM AIRPLANES. NO ONE IS SAFE.”
Echoing similarly worried thoughts, another tweeter recommended that McCray seek out a safer spot from which to fish next time. They advised, “Think about the snakes that you can’t see in the high grass behind your chair. I think I’d fish from the bridge.” Another user agreed, although they recommended instead that the angler cast out from a helicopter next time – just to be safe.
Not everyone who watched McCray’s video was left feeling panic-stricken by what had gone down with the fish and the snake, however. In fact, just like the angler, some saw the funny side of what could have been a highly dangerous situation. And there were plenty of comments poking fun at his uncomfortable catch, too.
One such tweet brought McCray’s fishing technique into question. It read, “Did you use the snake as bait to catch the fish… Or the other way around?” Meanwhile, another commenter joked that there had been some kind of showdown between the angler and his reptilian rival. They wrote, “Y’all looking at each other trying to figure out who gone get the fish.”
A further Twitter user pointed out that McCray had gotten to the catfish just that little bit too late. They wrote, “Yeah, if the snake had hands, they could just play rock, paper, scissors for it… But honestly, the snake did have first dibs.” And another person seemed to agree. As a result, they pointed out, “Looks like the snake beat you to dinner.”
But while some people could empathize with the snake for having its meal rudely interrupted, there was also some sympathy for the catfish. After all, it managed to get caught out twice in one go. One Twitter user wrote, for instance, “It’s a bad day for that fish. Definitely a lose-lose.”
Then, after McCray’s video of the snake and catfish had gone viral, the angler’s story made it into the local media. And in an interview with ABC13 Eyewitness News, he revealed what happened after the camera had stopped rolling. McCray explained, “I took the knife to get the snake off the fish and released the fish… The snake had a few wounds from the knife, but I released it as well.”
Back on Twitter, McCray also confirmed that he had indeed released the catfish before it came to any further harm. In one tweet, he simply revealed, “The fish made it out alive.” Yet the account that the angler gave on Twitter regarding the snake’s fate differed somewhat from what he had told ABC13 Eyewitness News. There, he seemed to suggest that the serpent had in fact come to harm.
That revelation came about after one Twitter user asked McCray, “I want to know what you did after this.” Responding to the inquiry, the avid fisherman said, “I threw the fish back and killed the snake.” The Texan repeated this claim in a separate tweet, too, by writing that he had “killed the snake and released the fish.”
However, McCray faced some backlash on Twitter for claiming that he had killed the snake. One person wrote, “That’s a water snake. It’s non-venomous. It’s a completely harmless snake.” Another user berated the angler by sarcastically tweeting, “Congrats on killing a harmless snake that was just trying to live.”
If the serpent McCray had inadvertently hooked had actually been a water snake, it would indeed have posed little harm to him. As the Twitter user pointed out, the species doesn’t have any venom. And while North American water snakes will bite repeatedly if they feel threatened, and their saliva does contain a weak anticoagulant, any such attacks are not usually fatal to humans.
This species of snake is native to North America and can be found as far north as Ontario and Quebec and as far south as Florida and Texas – where McCray caught his. They prey on all kinds of marine life, too – including fish and frogs – but also hunt small mammals and birds. It’s worth noting, though, that water snakes also have a number of predators themselves – with raccoons, birds, foxes and opossums among them.
And from McCray’s video, it was clear to see that the snake he’d snagged had dark bands and blotches running the length of its body. Yet while these kinds of markings could have identified it as a harmless water snake, they are also associated with more dangerous creatures such as copperheads or cottonmouths – accounting, perhaps, for the angler’s overzealous approach to the serpent.
But despite the criticism McCray faced for how he may have dealt with the snake, he seemed to revel in the attention he received on account of his viral video. After posting the clip of the deadly creature and the catfish, you see, he shared yet more snippets of his angling adventures. And it seems that the Texan was used to reeling in unexpected catches.
Indeed, on the very same day McCray shared the catfish and snake clip, he uploaded a second video. And in this footage, yet another animal is seen flailing around in the water after being hooked. Then a voice – presumably belonging to the Texan – says, “It ain’t no fish, but it’s still a good catch.” And later in the clip, the fisherman reveals exactly what he’s caught, adding, “That’s an alligator snapping turtle.”
Just like snakes, alligator snapping turtles are known for their bites, as they have incredibly powerful jaws. The reptiles hunt with their mouths open and lure in unsuspecting prey using their worm-shaped tongues. Then, once they have their victims in place, they snap their jaws shut.
And alligator snapping turtles are opportunistic hunters, meaning they feed off a number of marine animals whether they’re dead or alive. In some cases, they have even been known to eat alligators. As a result, then, these reptiles are extremely dangerous and should be treated with care when handled by humans.
You see, alligator snapping turtles’ jaws are so powerful that they can reportedly bite through broom handles. Alarmingly, there are even stories of people having their fingers chomped clean off by the animals. So, while the creatures don’t appear to have ever killed a human, McCray would nevertheless have to handle the example that he believed he’d found very carefully.
And it seems that McCray did deal with the turtle he’d hooked with sufficient caution. Another video that the fisherman shared shows him holding what looked like a snapper carefully by the shell. Then, with his hands safely out of biting reach of the beast, the angler returns the turtle to the water with one almighty throw.
But while McCray seemed to have a knack for catching unintended creatures, he isn’t the only angler to have reeled in more than they’d bargained for. Writing on Twitter, one social media user revealed, for instance, that they had somehow hooked an alligator. And unlike the Texan with his reptilian catch, they were unable to laugh the incident off.
The person in question wrote, “Bruh, when I was in Texas, I caught an alligator.” Revealing how they’d reacted to their find, the tweeter added, “Man, I threw the whole rod ‘n’ reel in the water… That s**t was prehistoric. I ain’t never seen no s**t like that before, and yo’ ass out here acting like [two crying laughing emojis].”
Yet McCray himself seems to have taken the popularity of his fishing clips as an opportunity to branch out to other social media outlets. Revealing the development on Twitter in July 2019, the angler told his followers, “Y’all go subscribe to my YouTube channel.” And in a bid to tempt people to do just that, he added, “Video dropping soon.”
McCray is yet to add a description to his new YouTube channel; judging by his first upload, though, the page will focus on his fishing adventures. In that initial clip, the Texan believes that he’s hooked another big catch. But, as ever, there’s a twist. This time, he ends up with nothing to show for his work after the unknown beastie snaps his line. And perhaps that’s for the best given the angler’s habit of reeling in terrifying creatures.