By BY RYAN MOORE
Daily Journal Staff Writer
August 11, 2001 Don Elliott of Edinburgh is an avid fisherman, but he’s never caught anything like what he snatched Thursday.
When Elliott went nightfishing at a gravel pit pond off U.S. 31 on Wednesday night, he was hoping to snag a catfish. Instead, he caught something quite different: a two-pound, two-ounce South American pacu.
The catch of the day happened at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.
Elliott noticed what he thought was a muskie plopping about five feet off the pond’s bank. Not one to shy away from a good catch, Elliott didn’t hesitate to start the hunt.
Finally, after waiting more than an hour, Elliott felt a tug from his reel as he struggled to pull the fish to land.
“At first, I thought it was just a big bluegill,” Elliott said, “but then I realized there aren’t many bluefish that big.”
The fish was about 14 to 16 inches long, though not measured by Elliott.
Elliott took the fish to the Department of Natural Resources later Thursday, who identified it as a pacu, which are prevalent in the Amazon Basin of South America.
Pacus have a silver body with a red-tinged tail and resemble piranhas when very young. They have a rather peaceful demeanor and feed off of ripe fruit and nuts that are dropped in rivers.
Elliott’s fish is now “in a neighbor’s freezer,” awaiting to be eaten by the Elliotts and the elderly woman storing it.
Being so rare, Elliott nearly decided to mount the pacu on his wall, but then changed his mind.
“Too expensive,” he said.
You can see a picture at