John Byrd Jr., of Bowling Green, Virginia has been fishing the same private farm pond for decades, but he’s never caught a fish quite like the one he landed earlier this month. The chain pickerel had a bright blue mouth, which is the result of a rare genetic pigment mutation, according to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.
“I’d never seen one that color! And I’ve been fishing in that pond for more than 20 years!” Byrd told the department, referring to the 14-acre pond he frequents in Caroline County.
The fish ate a Whopper Plopper lure and measured between 11 and 12 inches long. After landing it, Byrd decided to keep the pickerel and brought it to his taxidermist to be mounted. But first he contacted VDWR regional fisheries biologist Scott Hermann, who confirmed both the species and the rarity of Byrd’s catch.
“The coloration expressed by the blue pickerel is extremely rare,” Hermann said….