State record-breaking goldfish caught in Fairfax County

Chesterfield, Virginia man catches record breaking Goldfish in Fairfax County
Jeremy Fortner, a bow fisherman from Chesterfield, Virginia catches a state record breaking 3 pound, 9 ounce goldfish from Hunting Creek, a Virginia tributary of the Potomac River in Fairfax County. (Credit: Jeremy Fortner)

A Virginia bow fisherman is not only celebrating winning a tournament, but shattering a state record.

He didn’t come up with a big bass or chubby catfish; his arrow captured a 3-pound, 9-ounce goldfish.

“To get one three pounds in this area is pretty unique, pretty crazy,” said fisherman Jeremy Fortner.

Fortner said he got the fish after many arrows missed their mark, and he was close to giving up on capturing one — which would have lost him the tournament, because catching a goldfish was a requirement.

“I said ‘I ain’t leaving until I shoot one more fish,’” Fortner recalled.

With one final aim, he hit his mark, pulling in a goldfish. Fortner said at the time he didn’t realize how big it was; he just saw it as the fish that kept him in the tournament.

Also between him and victory during the May 22 tournament: the fact that he and a fellow fisherman had trouble returning to the shore after their boat got stuck for more than an hour.

After the many frustrating moments, Fortner’s demeanor changed when another fisherman told him that goldfish more than two pounds could break the record. Fortner said he knew his fish weighed more, and it did.

After an official weigh-in, he won the tournament, and then Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources would later confirm his fish was the new Virginia Archery State Record Goldfish. The fish measured 16 inches, with a girth of nearly 15 inches, according to the department.

“I never would never have thought shooting a 3-pound goldfish would have gotten the attention it got,” Fortner said of the publicity he has received.

How are goldfish getting into Virginia waterways? The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources said years of pets being set free may be to blame.

“Pet owners should never release their aquatic organisms into the wild as unforeseen impacts can occur including disease, competition, and predation,” the department said in a Facebook post about the catch.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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