Since snakeheads were discovered in a Maryland pond in 2002 and in Potomac River tributaries in 2004, biologists have worried that this Asian predator fish would lead to the demise of native species.
The northern snakehead is native to China and Korea, where it is prized as a delicacy. It is imported to the United States for sale in some fish markets and as an aquarium fish.
Click play to watch a report on the 2012 Potomac Snakehead Tournament.
The invasive fish, which can grow as large as 47 inches, is a voracious and toothy feeder, consuming microscopic zooplankton and crustaceans as juveniles, and fish, insects and crustaceans as adults, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Steve Chaconas, who runs the National Bass Guide Service in Alexandria, Va., and Derek Radoski, a client and snakehead fishing enthusiast, have joined the fight against snakeheads in the Potomac.
They hope to promote snakehead fishing for sport and as a means of removing the invasive species from local waters.
“We were hootin’ and hollerin’. We saw how big he really was when he started fighting,” Brian Stack told The Washington Post after catching a snakehead that weighed more than 16 pounds at the recent Potomac Snakehead Tournament.