This is pretty darn cool. Earlier this year, Kc Langdon caught a carp that puts the “fan” in “fantail.” He landed the stunning fantail carp while fishing at an undisclosed location in Massachusetts and shared it on Instagram on February 21, 2023. Langdon was fishing with Morgan Holmes when the epic catch took place.
Langdon’s fantail is actually a common carp with an unusual genetic mutation. The mutation can also occur in other carp species such as mirror carp and koi. “The fantail is a genetic deformation that occurs, and then the fantail carp mate with others, and the population increases,” Sean Manning, founder of the American Carp Society tells Field & Stream. “For example, there are a bunch of them in the Connecticut River. It is not, to my knowledge, due to any kind of cross-breeding with koi or domestic goldfish.”
The mutation is considered rare in the wild. Manning explains that, while it may appear beautiful, it can also be a negative. “The fantails do have an impact on survival in a high-predator environment as the fin structure inhibits the speed that the fish can swim,” he says. “You can tell when you catch one: It’s a totally different fight. So in a river full of alligator gar, for example, or a lake full of flathead catfish, their ability to escape predation is lower than that of a regular-finned common carp. Other than that, there appears to be no genetic weakening of their immune system overall because of the fantail anomaly.”
To our knowledge, there are no record-keeping organizations that keep track of fin length in fantail carp. Regardless, this is one of the most impressive wild fantail carp we’ve recently come across. “I worked really hard for this fantail and will never forget it,” wrote Langodn. “I let her go [and] hope to see her again one day.”