From sharks to grouper, cod and trout, some fish will eat anything.
And some mighty strange things turn up inside them when they’re caught and filleted. Never mind the more common finds like stones, plastics and assorted sea, fly or carp fishing tackle, here we bring you a selection of the most indigestible objects ever discovered in the bellies of our fishy friends.
When Andrew Cheatle lost his mobile phone on the beach, he soon gave up hope of ever finding it again. So imagine his surprise when a week later, he received a call from a Sussex fisherman to tell him he’d found his phone – inside one of his catch.
The trawlerman caught the 25 lb cod off the coast of West Sussex. When he gutted it, he was surprised to find an intact mobile phone among the stomach contents. He rescued the SIM card and found the owner’s number. Incredibly, once Mr Cheatle had dried out the Nokia mobile, it still worked.
When a Malaysian woman bought a small shark at the market for her husband’s tea, she got more than she bargained for. As she was preparing it, out fell a rare 16th century medallion. It’s thought the trinket is of a type worn by Portuguese soldiers to ward off bad luck during their exploration of foreign lands.
The medallion features a head engraving thought to be that of of Queen Elizabeth, the consort of King Denis I of Portugal who reigned from 1271 to 1336. The family have decided to keep the treasure…for good luck.
When American, Haans Galassi lost four fingers of one hand in an accident while wakeboarding on a lake in Idaho, he thought that would be the last he ever saw of them. But three months later, an angler caught a trout.
You guessed it – the fisherman found a finger in the fish. He put it on ice and took it to police who matched the fingerprint to that of the unfortunate wake boarder. Offered the return of the digit, Galassi declined.
Sheep’s head, preserved milk tin & 7 crabs
Summer is always a bad time for news, and a good time for animal stories. There was obviously a shortage of news in July 1865 too when New Zealand’s Lyttelton Times published a report of the stomach contents of a fish caught off the coast of Queensland in Australia.
The unlucky grouper was 7ft long, 6ft in diameter at its widest and its head alone weighed 80 lbs. Inside, it contained, “two broken bottles, a quart pot, a preserved milk tin, seven medium sized crabs, a piece of earthenware triangular in shape and 3 inches in length encrusted with oyster shells, a sheep’s head, some mutton and beef bones, and some loose oyster shells. The spine of a skate was embedded in the grouper’s liver.”
A fishy tale
The Vox Pisces is a 17th century book with very fishy credentials. The work was published in 1627 from three religious manuscripts by protestant reformer, John Frith. Incredibly, a fishwife found the treatises wrapped in sail cloth in the stomach of a cod caught off Kings Lynn. At exactly the moment she pulled the strange package from the belly of the fish, a theologian from Cambridge University happened to be walking past.
Sadly The originator was less lucky than his writings. John Frith was imprisoned for his beliefs, in the Tower of London and later burned at the stake at Smithfield.