On Monday, a fisherman in California caught a 50-pound carp in one of the unlikeliest places imaginable: the small, relatively shallow lake in the middle of Los Angeles' MacArthur Park.
Eddie Salmeron, the 25-year-old angler who caught the fish, said he was leisurely chatting with his friend Sergio Talavera — or “Big Serg” — when his bait alarm started sounding.
"I set the hook, and that was when the whole fight began,” Salmeron told NPR. “My forearms started feeling it, my back started feeling it, my biceps felt everything. It was just — it was the longest 10 minutes of my life,” Salmeron told NPR.
During the fight, Salmeron also said he needed to reel his line away from a shopping cart that had been abandoned in the lake, lest the fish get snagged in its grates, reports LAist.
“We tried to net it and I started getting nervous,” Salmeron told the site. “I started sweating. I got wet, my watch got wet. I was almost in the water.”
Once Salmeron and Talavera saw the fish, though, they knew they had caught something special.
"Big Serg saw it and that's when he screamed, 'Ed, it's huge! It's a monster!' and I started shaking," said Salmeron.
"This fish was so massive, it was huggable," Salmeron says. "It looked like those big teddy bears that you get on the carnival rides when you win 'em, the big fat plumpy ones — that's how fat that fish was."
The catch was truly out of the ordinary for Salmeron and Talavera, who have been fishing at the lake in MacArthur Park and Magic Johnson Park for years. The two friends, together with their buddy Rafe, are founding members of the California Ghetto Carping club, which now boasts over a hundred members in the LA area.
Salmeron’s fish, however, was closer to the Calif. record than anyone from the CGC has ever gotten. According to Wide Open Spaces, he just barely missed title, which appears to be a 52-pound carp caught in San Luis Obispo in 1968.
Nevertheless, Salmeron is still super psyched about his record.
"All my family's excited,” he told LAist. “I'm super excited that I caught that fish. Because most of all, I'm a fish hobbyist and I've been doing this since I was nine.”
MacArthur Park Lake is one of 17 remaining lakes in Los Angeles County that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks with fish.