Argentine Fisherman Catches 550-Pound Freshwater Short Tail Stingray

A fisherman from Argentina has landed in the record books after catching a 550-pound freshwater stingray in the Paraná River on Wednesday.

Andrés Wilchen, 42, told the media that the battle to land the fish was so tiring he almost gave up.

“I was about to give up due to exhaustion,” Wilchen told the media, according to the New York Post. “It had tremendous strength and was thrashing about at the bottom of the river.”

Wilchen was fishing the Paraná on Feb. 8 when he landed the short-tailed river stingray, which is native to the Río de la Plata Basin in South America.

“I’ve caught many large fish in my time, but this is without a doubt the biggest,” the excited fisherman explained. Wilchen said he caught the fish using a shark hook baited with a large eel where he was fishing near the town of San Lorenzo. “I’ve caught lots of different species, including catfish and around 20 stingrays in the past, but nothing as big as this,” he added.

Wilchen added that the ray was so giant that it could have dragged his boat anywhere it wanted if the craft had not been moored when the ray struck the hook.

Conservationists have warned that South America’s river stingrays are rapidly declining and suffering from overfishing.

Scientists say the average river stingray can grow up to five feet across, weigh as much as 200 to 300 pounds, and are a favorite of anglers. But they worry that its population has been depleted by as much as 25 percent a year in the last two decades.

Stingrays are very dangerous to humans, and several people have been reportedly killed by their poisonous, barbed tails. Famed animal expert Steve Irwin lost his life when a stingray’s barb struck him in 2006.  Source