Pacu fish found in Lake Woodlands

THE WOODLANDS, TX A Spring man fishing in Lake Woodlands caught it earlier this week.

Kenneth Evans fishes Lake Woodlands regularly, but when something recently took hold of the chicken gizzards he baits his hooks with, he knew it wasn't the usual catfish biting.

"That line just went zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom and then come towards the bank," Evans said. "Oh yeah, it put a good fight up."

Both of his poles started thrashing as Evans jumped to get control of them.

"Wiggled, jumped up and fell on the ground. This pole here jumped and fell on the ground. I grabbed this one," Evans said.

He stepped on his second pole to keep it from being pulled into the lake and then he saw something he's never seen before -- a bright orange underbelly.

"Oh my God, it's a piranha is what I was thinking when I seen the face and the noise," Evans said.

Evans and local game wardens believe it's a South American cousin to a piranha, known as the pacu. It's native to the Amazon River, and Evans says it rattles its teeth when hooked.

"When the mouth got out of the water a little bit, it made that kwuh-kwuh-kwuh-kwuh," Evans said.

We contacted the Montgomery County game warden and they have pictures of another pacu caught on Lake Conroe about four years ago. They believe exotic fish owners release them once they outgrow their aquariums.

There is no data on their numbers in area lakes and what kind of damage the omnivores may do, if any.

There is one less now, as Evans is holding on to it so people will believe his tale.

"Figure I would just keep it in the freezer, because it would be the ultimate fish tale," he said.

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