Boy catches two prehistoric fish on same day in rare, ‘unthinkable’ feat

Boy catches two prehistoric fish on same day in rare, ‘unthinkable’ feat

Outdoors

Boy catches two prehistoric fish on same day in rare, ‘unthinkable’ feat

Adam Cole holds the 100-pound paddlefish his son Zaniel snagged on the Arkansas River. Photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

In what Oklahoma fishing officials called an “unthinkable” feat, an 8-year-old boy caught two prehistoric fish on the same day from the Arkansas River above Keystone Lake with help from his father.

Zaniel Cole snagged a paddlefish weighing more than 100 pounds and followed that by snagging a rare Oklahoma shovelnose sturgeon, according to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Facebook post.

“The probability of doing this in a lifetime of Oklahoma fishing is immeasurably small, much less in the same day!” the ODWC said.

Paddlefish and sturgeon are distant cousins in the order of Acipenseriformes whose origins date to the time of the dinosaurs. They are often referred to as prehistoric or primitive fishes.

Zaniel Cole holds the rare Oklahoma shovelnose sturgeon. Photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The shovelnose sturgeon is the smallest species of freshwater sturgeon and is common throughout the Mississippi River drainage, but is “extremely rare” in Oklahoma where they are a Species of Special Concern, Category II.

“Harvest of shovelnose sturgeon is legal (one per day); however, reporting to the ODWC is required,” the OWDC said. “Zaniel and [his father] Adam are conservationists, so they had the wisdom to release this rare fish.”

Paddlefish, whose meat and eggs are edible, are also legal to harvest with a daily limit of one and an annual limit of two, according to Oklahoma fishing regulations.

One method of catching paddlefish is by snagging, usually beginning in March and ending in late April during their early spring spawning run.

Also on BNQT Outdoors: Monster sturgeon nearly lands on kayak fisherman; video

It was unclear whether or not the fishermen harvested the paddlefish, but the ODWC described Zaniel and Adam as “models of responsible paddlefish handling techniques.”

“This is my grandson,” Anna Weeks wrote on the ODWC Facebook post. “So proud of him. This is one of his favorite things to do. Making great memories that he will never forget. Love you Z man. Way to go!”

Photos provided by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

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