A freaky fish with a mouthful of ‘human teeth’ has smashed records with its awesome size after being caught by a shocked fisherman.
Brian Summerlin, 38, was fishing in Tangier Sound, off Maryland, when something huge snagged his line.
The sheepshead – a fish with eerily human-like gnashers – is notorious for stealing bait and being tough to catch.
Brian said: ‘They’re amazing fish that have adapted to the food they eat. They have front teeth that can bite off barnacles from any underwater structure. They also have molar-like teeth on the top and bottom of their mouths to crush crustaceans.
‘My daughter wants to keep the teeth to put under her pillow for the tooth fairy because they look just like human teeth.’
Brian Summerlin, 38, holding the record-breaking fish. The sheepshead – a fish with eerily human-like gnashers – is notorious for stealing bait and being tough to catch
Dragging the fish from the depths of the ocean was no small feat, however.
‘Sheepshead are a really hard-fighting fish,’ Brian said.
‘They want to go back to the bottom – often times you can lose them, because they want to go to a structure on the bottom where your line can be cut.
‘Luckily my friend, Kris, told me to back down on the drag so the fish wouldn’t pop the line.
Sheepshead fish are a species of ray-finned, largely marine fish commonly found along the eastern coastline of North America and South America.
They are known for having front teeth that can look uncannily like human teeth.
Most sheepshead fish grow to between 17 inches and 17.7 inches long.
However, some can reach up to 36 inches, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Sheepshead fish grow squarish, human-like teeth as they develop so that they can eat hard-shelled prey.
Source: Live Science
‘A few times it was pulling around 25lb of drag under the boat, so it was a little stressful.’
When Brian saw the monstrous fish, he knew he’d landed a record breaker.
Weighing in at a staggering 16.6lb, it smashed the previous Maryland record of 14.1lb from August 2020, and dwarfed the average sheepshead weight of 3 to 4lb.
Bizarrely, it already had a hook in its mouth that Brian recognised as his own, which had been lost when a fish broke his line an hour before.
Afterwards, the fish was weighed with certified scales at Kool Ice and Seafood Company in Cambridge, Maryland.
Now the record has been officially recognised by the state’s Department of Natural Resources, holding the crown in the Chesapeake Bay Division.
‘I’m pretty excited about it,’ said Brian, from Princess Anne, Maryland.
‘I always knew there was a possibility to break the record.
‘My family also enjoyed eating the fish. Sheepshead is one of my family’s favorite fish to eat.’
It comes after another Chesapeake Bay fisherman, Todd Elder, smashed a world record with his sheepshead catch in May.
Elder claimed a spearfishing record with his 17.4lb sheepshead, as recognised by the International Underwater Spearfishing Association.
Weighing in at a staggering 16.6lb, it smashed the previous Maryland record of 14.1lb from August 2020, and dwarfed the average sheepshead weight of 3 to 4lb
Bizarrely, the fish already had a hook in its mouth that Brian recognised as his own, which had been lost when a fish broke his line an hour before