However, it is not a fairy tale. This man is Jason Fugate, of Baxter, and this fish is a bigmouth buff – weighing 32.8 pounds, 36 inches long and 26 inches in circumference – and perhaps the only known member of its gray-brown marbled species which shines with a royal glow, like melted gold.
Based on expert analysis, this gold buffalo fish swam in the waters for at least a century, eclipsing the lives of Martin Luther King, Elvis Presley, Mohammed Ali, Princess Diana and billions of human beings without any consciousness. Only more sophisticated tests will identify a specific date on the age of the fish.
At the end of April, on a lake that he did not want to identify, Jason jumped into his boat and set out to practice a favorite hobby: fishing at l & # 39; arc.
"There is you and the water and about 15 or 20 feet of light. Nobody around you. Nobody to bother you, said Jason. "It's really calm and peaceful. You can see a lot of night life that you would not normally see during the day, isolated from the distractions. "
As the clock turned around 3am, Jason ran through the murky waters with a shaking slime, illuminated by the ghostly glow of his lamps. Night fishing reveals a completely different world beneath the surface of the water, he said, an environment sometimes opaque and devoid of light, populated with species that do not go out during the day and rarely appear before human eyes .
And then, down there, in the depths, Jason's lights lit up a glowing mass, he said. He was moving with a gentle, gradual confidence – the first hint in his mind, Jason remembered, that the fish had survived so much that it was actually a living artifact.
"There was such a glow," said Jason. "There was a distinctive orange glow. When I sent a picture to my friend, I realized that this fish was different.
For a few moments, Jason thought he might have encountered a goldfish or other grass-carp, but the distinctive shape and protruding bony plates of the Bigmouth buffalo leave him quickly.
Immersed in the hunt, Jason's thoughts become primordial and hyper concentrated – "Big buff! Big buff! He crossed his mind, he said. While he was floating on the fish and was starting to pull his rope back and forth, fatigue – overwhelming fatigue, tired fatigue; more than an early morning fishing trip could explain – could be felt in every muscle and nerve of his body.
In February 2018, the young father of three said that he was starting to get tired – not just dreaming of a nap, but to go to bed every day after work and to go to bed. faint for hours.
Kelli, his wife, said it was difficult to arouse and that he would react to nothing less than intensive efforts.
"He could not get up," said Kelli. "It would take him a good five minutes. You can call him and call him, but he does not want to get up. He was always tired. He never had energy, then his stomach began to shake and everything was coming down from there.
At the same time, eating became as difficult as staying awake all day. In Jason's words, he was diagnosed with "a kind of malabsorption syndrome" which is about as vague as it may sound. Essentially, beyond gastrointestinal problems, this means that doctors are almost as perplexed by Jason and Kelli. So far, there have been no drugs or viable treatment options.
At first, Jason thought he had a virus in his stomach. He could not properly digest his meals. A typical dinner has evolved into a painful ordeal. He was afflicted with debilitating cramps that could bring him to his knees and began to vomit blood. Soon, he found himself in the emergency room. He visited seven or eight clinics. Her gallbladder and appendix were removed, but this resulted in only a temporary respite. He also noted that he could be dizzy or drowsy driving.
After about a year of persistent problems, Jason lost 90 pounds. Jason, a technician at Sound Connection Inc. in Baxter for 10 years, was physically unable to continue working. In the meantime, Kelli's has also been faced with an unstable employment situation that balances the needs of her husband and three children.
"It leaves a guy unable to function all day," said Jason. "I do not have many answers to know how long it will last. Is it going to stop? Will that be how my life is going to be? "
Jason said the quality of his life had declined.
"This has caused so many mental health problems," added Jason, who said he spent time in emergency mental health facilities. "The burden that weighs on my wife alone – she said," It's like being a single mother of three. "I am here and I try to be as involved as possible and love my children, but it is not the same thing. when I can not ride them without having these consequences. It's hard to live a life and to be a father. "
Initially, the diagnosis was Crohn's disease. Although doctors have moved from this initial assessment, a drug prescribed to Jason – Pentasa – has worked relatively well to alleviate the symptoms and make the situation tolerable.
But once the medical professionals rejected the diagnosis of Crohn's disease, they began looking for other options and Jason's prescription for Pentasa was canceled.
"I had positive results. My biopsies became negative, so they withdrew this medicine and even sent me to the door, "Jason said. "It's a battle. I just tried to take this medicine again. I knew how I felt. I told the doctors, I do not care what you diagnose me. I know how I feel. It's about living my life. "
"It's a lot to do," Kelli added. "He's here, but he can not help much, I'm sort of managing the children, he's behaving pretty well, we're waiting for answers."
If you asked Jason, his answer came to him in the form of goldfish.
Ignoring his aching body, he took the first shot – just to watch the arrow disappear into the lake bottom without even stinging a ladder. By the very admission of Jason, fishing in the bow can be difficult. It's not like traditional bow hunting or looking at a set of iron sights, it's an artistic form of muscle memory and intuition, coupled with a trained eye, like throwing a baseball on the diamond.
He chased the beast. With a momentum of speed and strength that contradicts his centennial, Jason said the golden fish had tried to shake it. He took a second shot – just to watch him take a look and bounce off the scales of the animal like a plate armor.
When Jason sent the fish into shallower waters, he kicked his tail again, bursting into the silt – but he was tired, he said, as if the mysterious fish were weighed down. by decades, just as he was weighed down by a mysterious disease taxing his body.
The third and last shot was successful. The arrow pierced the shiny metallic skin of the fish and Jason inserted what he called his "fish of hope" – a symbol in his mind, he said, that things will change and will improve. .
"It's very, very rare and undocumented so far," said Jason about the fish, echoing the ratings of Alec Lackmann, a researcher at North Dakota State University. He emphasized the extraordinary age of the fish – fish often acquiring a certain luminance over time – or a genetic mutation that may explain its striking appearance.
In any case, just like the man himself, the fish poses a host of questions without concrete answers at the moment.
"Why me? Why this time in my life? Why did I find him at this time, at this place? How old is he? Why is it so orange?" Said Jason. However, this fish is like me and my illness, there are so many unanswered questions that need to be solved. "
Jason and Kelli said they hoped to get enough attention and raise enough money for Jason to consult a number of specialized experts – doctors in Chicago, the twin cities or beyond – who might be able to light on his condition. Friends have created a GoFundMe page titled "Jason Jason – Mysterious Fish and Medical Diagnosis" designed around the symbolic imagery of the Golden Buffalo Mouth with a goal of $ 20,000.
It remains to be seen whether this will happen or not, or whether it will change his life for the better. This part of the fairy tale, for the moment, remains in the realm of fiction.
"It was that sign of hope," Jason said. "All good and bad, mental health, physical, you do not really know what will happen the next day. Continue to try. If I had not put the necessary time and effort, I did not know what would have happened. So I have to keep looking because I'm going to find the right doctor, the right diagnosis. And once, it'll be fine.
More photos of the rare bigmouth buffalo fish are available here.