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Captured Murray cod throws up golf ball

Barooga's Ian Fitzpatrick got more than he bargained for when he hooked a Murray cod in Barooga.

TONI BRIENT January 15, 2014 4:10am

Something's fishy: Barooga fisherman Ian Fitzpatrick had an interesting catch last week.


It started as a normal Sunday morning fishing trip for Barooga’s Ian Fitzpatrick last week.

He cast his line from the Murray River bank near Seppelts Rd, Barooga, and came out with a 68cm Murray cod.

Mr Fitzpatrick returned to his campsite to photograph the catch before releasing it back into the river.

But the day took an interesting turn when the fish ‘‘regurgitated’’ a white Knight golf ball.

He said the fish seemed unharmed by the incident.

‘‘It didn’t seem to make any difference to it,’’ Mr Fitzpatrick said.

‘‘It was pretty healthy when it swam away.’’

The seasoned fisherman said this wasn’t the first time he’d witnessed a fish vomiting a golf ball.

‘‘One time, we had one (which vomited) two golf balls,’’ he said.

‘‘That was about 18 months ago.’’

Mr Fitzpatrick said lots of campers in the area tried to hit golf balls across the river, but many of them ended up on the riverbed.

‘‘I think the fish think they’re eggs and they swallow them,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s a few older blokes (in the area) that fish a lot and they all see them too.’’

 

Department of Environment and Primary Industries regional fisheries officer Mike Hosking said examinations of Murray cods’ stomach contents suggested it was common for them to consume a variety of items in the river.

‘‘I’ve seen anything from tomatoes to oranges to golf balls to any food scraps been discarded by people,’’ Mr Hosking said.

‘‘Being a large predator fish, it sucks things in with its big wide mouth.

‘‘It will eat anything from birds falling out of nests to rabbits swimming across the river.’’

He said Murray cod commonly injested other solid items like rocks or cray fish shells, and it was thought they posed little danger to internal organs.

While it was more common for the fish to die during fights with each other, people should ensure their waste doesn’t end up in the river, Mr Hosking said.

‘‘We advise people that whatever they put into the water, there’s a chance something will scavange it and then it poses a risk to fish,’’ he said.

But there was one item he was yet to find in a stomach contents examination.

‘‘If they find a golf buggy in a cod, I’d be really concerned,’’ Mr Hosking said.

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