PHOENIX — Susan Aavang has been fishing most of her life, but what she caught in a Phoenix lake last weekend still surprised her.
She’d hooked a fish that had humanlike teeth, a fish not normally found on this continent.
A few weeks before that, Aavang’s brother caught a similar fish using hot dogs as bait. Although he released the fish back in the lake near an Ahwatukee elementary school, Aavang started using the same bait to try to catch the fish again.
“All of sudden something attacked the bait,” she told AZ Family. “I could tell it was on the hook. I started pulling it in, pulling it in.”
Once the fish was secured on shore, Aavang knew that although this wasn’t her brother’s fish, it was the same type: a pacu, usually found in South America and cousin to the piranha.
When she was showing off her catch to neighbors, one of them poked a straw into its mouth to see what would happen.
Still alive, the fish snapped down on the straw.
“It grabbed the straw and I was done playing,” Ken Lubic said with a smile.
Aavang’s fish isn’t the first pacu found in Arizona — they are sometimes set free in local lakes after being purchased for fish tanks.