PHOTO: Rare All-Black Fish Caught Along Tennessee River

Photo: Getty Images

When fishermen cast a line, they are usually hoping to reel in a catch that can set some records, but occasionally their catch sports a truly bizarre feature. That's exactly what happened to one fisherman in Tennessee recently when he captured a rare fish sporting an unusual look.

Greg Ursin, of Lafitte, Louisiana, was visiting East Tennessee where he decided to cast a line out in the French Broad River with a captain from Smoky Mountain Fishing Company, per WKRN. What started as a normal fishing trip turned even more interesting with Ursin reeled in a rare all-black gar. Intrigued by the strange catch, they sent a photo to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Biologist John Hammonds, who identified it as a melanistic longnose gar.

The TWRA shared a photo of Ursin proudly holding up his catch on the department's official Facebook page. The post said the all-black look is similar to leucism or albinism, which is identifiable by having a lack of pigment, causing the creature to look off-white, yellow or even orange. Ursin's catch, however, is on the other side of the spectrum.

"Think albino, but the opposite, and it is definitely rare," the post states. "Occasionally fish of about any species will have this deformity, but melanism is more rare than other odd color fish traits like leucism."

"Either deformity is not known to be harmful to the fish, but a lot of times it makes the individual stand out and they become prey when they are very young so they are rarely seen," the post concluded.

After snapping a photo of the unique catch, Ursin released the fish back into the river.

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