By Jasmine Kazlauskas
A shocked fisherman filmed a monstrous 18-year-old flathead fish choking to death on another smaller fish after it attempted to devour its prey whole – but had eyes bigger than its stomach.
Michael Pool stumbled upon the unbelievable sight earlier this month after embarking on his usual morning walk along the water in his hometown of Burrill Lake, New South Wales, Australia.
The 63-year-old first spotted the colossal metre-long (3ft 2in), 10kg (1st 6lbs) flathead in the water from a distance – but it was only when he ventured closer that he realised the fish had choked on a small bream.
He tried to release the small fish from the flathead’s enormous jaws but Michael said that the bream was ‘jammed too far’ and was stuck inside the flathead’s mouth, making it ‘impossible’ to dislodge from its ‘shark-like’ teeth.
Michael said: “I was walking my dogs at sunrise along the water as usual and I saw the flathead from a distance.
“But as I got closer I noticed the other fish sticking out of its mouth. I was absolutely gobsmacked.
“The fish was a big female breeder and I’d seen her many times. She would be about 18 years old. I recognized her because of the distinct markings on her head.
“It was shocking. I tried to pull the smaller bream out of her jaws, but it was impossible.
“It was jammed so far in and it was stuck on her teeth, which are just like a shark’s.
“It’s rare to see a flathead fish so close to shore. She must have swum up to the shallows during the night and chased the bream.
“It looks like she charged at the bream will full force to eat it, but it was just too big for her throat and it became stuck.
“She would have started choking on it and just suffocated to death.
“It’s like if a human tried to jam a whole apple down their throat.”
Retired engineer Michael said he had never seen anything so unusual in his 50 years of fishing on the South Coast.
The bizarre footage of the two interlocked dead fish has racked up thousands of likes and shares online.
Many people were ‘feeling sorry’ for the hungry flathead’s fatal mistake which caused it to suffocate.
Michael, who now runs and owns ‘The Pines Cottage’ homestay in Burrill Lake, said: “When I went back down a few hours later the birds had got to it and there was just her skeleton left.
“I did feel sorry for her. Her eyes were just too big for her stomach.
“It isn’t a very nice way to go. But I guess that’s nature. I felt quite lucky to see it.”