Something’s fishy: Photos show ‘demon fish’ found along Florida waterway

FWC officials say fish found along Putnam County waterway most likely bowfin

Tammy Jenkins took this photo of what Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said might be a bowfin, in Putnam County along a waterway while kayaking. (Tammy Jenkins)

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – Something fishy found along a Florida waterway sparked the curiosity of thousands of social media users about a week ago.

On Nov. 10, Central Florida resident Tammy Jenkins took to the Florida Photography Facebook group to share her pictures of a so-called “demon fish” she found at Johnson Field Boat Ramp off the Ocklawaha River in Putnam County.

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“I would describe it as very ugly, like something that crawled out of hell. I’ve never seen anything so gnarly which is why I took the picture,” Jenkins said.

And with a sharp, toothy smile like that, it’s easy to see why Jenkins, and commenters, were mistaking it for something evil and supernatural.

“WTH is this fish with teeth like a vampire?” Facebook commenter Jennifer Matthews said.

“Well thanks, now I am probably going to have nightmares, that thing!!!! Is seared into my retinas,” Lori Bara added.

“Freakishly cool to look at. I wouldn’t want to see a live one tho,” Lelia Burton Baylor wrote.

Tammy Jenkins found the fish while kayaking along a Putnam County river. (Tammy Jenkins)

Most people took stabs at what kind of fish they thought it was. Some said snakehead, piranha, even demon fish, according to social media user Timothy Betancourt.

But most commenters correctly guessed the species — most likely a bowfin, more commonly known as a mudfish.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials, that’s what the dead fish is thought to be. The bowfin is native to the state and known for its big mouth with sharp teeth and aggressive behavior.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.