SMYRNA, Tenn.- A
local fisherman's startling catch at Percy Priest Lake has people talking and
wondering how and if an exotic fish from South America could end up in Smyrna.
Bill Haynes says
there is no doubt what bit his bait Saturday is a Piranha; Native to Amazon,
this one somehow ended up in a Tennessee lake and Haynes says it was likely at
the hands of irresponsible pet owner.
fishing his entire life and said even this took him by surprise,
"You know what you're fishing for, but that doesn't mean you know
what you are going to catch," he said.
Never was that
more true than what he reeled in Saturday night from his boat on Percy Priest
"He is just a
Piranha that's' all," he said holding out the fish which was still alive on
exotic fish is known for its sharp teeth, sensationalized in Hollywood for its
killer instinct and quick bite. And seeing it next to a Tennessee catfish in
the catch bin shocked many people docked at Percy Priest.
"Whenever he said he caught a piranha I said, ‘No, no he didn't,'"
said one 9- year-old.
"You watch the
movie Piranha; it's scary," said Haynes' friend.
Haynes said the fish tried to snap at him Saturday night and even
ate the 15 blue carp that were also caught.
"If you get them
stirred up, they will probably bite you back. I know he was trying last night,"
Haynes took a closer look at the teeth on the fish, many of which
were broken off but growing back in. Bill believes this fish came from the
Amazon to an aquarium before finding a home in Percy Priest.
"People get them
in their aquariums and they get tired of them or they get too big and they
don't want to kill them, so they bring them here and turn them loose, and it's
against the law," he said.
Bill even more than seeing a Piranha next to a catfish, is that they both took
a bite of the same local bait.
"This dumb fish
bit a hot dog," he said.
Now Old Man
Bill's got all of Dock C talking and watching the water for what exotic pet
they might catch next.
"I'm not getting in that water. If you see me in it, it's because
I fell in not because I jumped in!" he said.
A biologist from
the TWRA is coming to take a look at the fish on Monday morning and confirm
what species it is. This is not the first report of a Piranha being caught in
Percy Priest Lake; a similar catch was made by a woman last year.
It is uncertain if they are affecting the local habitat.