LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It's a fishing tale that packs a wallop so strong it broke the jaw of a southeastern Arkansas teen and covered him in fish blood and guts.
Seth Russell, 15, of Crossett, was cruising Lake Chicot on a large inner tube towed by a boat when a Silver Asian carp leaped from the water and smacked him in the face. Seth was knocked unconscious.
"He doesn't remember anything at all," the boy's mother, Linda Russell, said last week. "He was laughing, and the next thing he remembers, he is waking in a hospital."
The teen has had oral surgery to wire several teeth together and still experiences back pain that doctors attribute to whiplash from the high-speed collision, his mother said.
He's not the only one who's has a run-in with the "flying" Silver Asian carp.
"They do not fly, but they are quite good jumpers," said Carole Engle, director of aquaculture and the fisheries center at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. "Over the past year, we have had some calls about fish jumping and causing injuries on Lake Chicot.
"Their jumping behavior is a problem, and their population appears to be growing there," Engle said.
Silver Asian carp were first imported to the United States in the 1970s. Catfish farmers brought them here to remove algae and other suspended matter from their ponds. The Environmental Protection Agency started a program allowing cities to use the fish to help clean the water in sewer treatment plant ponds.