As they ventured out onto the ice, brothers Alex and Anton Babich couldn’t have known what the day would have in store for them. But the discovery that they were about to make would amaze not only the brothers themselves, but also millions of people all around the world.
Alex and Anton Babich originally hail from Ukraine but now both live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with their families. What’s more, since moving to the same town, they’ve both become successful businessmen who own their own companies. Alex sells hunting gear, while Anton has founded a fashion label.
It appears that the brothers are also extremely keen ice fishers. Appropriately, then, in January 2017 they headed up to Wawasee Lake, near Syracuse, to partake in the chilly pastime. And at first, it probably seemed like just another day out on the ice for the pair.
But all was not as it seemed. In fact, it wasn’t long before the guys had made a startling discovery out on the ice. Anton furthermore quickly snapped a picture of the pair’s find, uploading it to Facebook, where it was greeted with equal surprise by his friends.
The brothers had come across a pair of fish encased in the ice, and on closer inspection, Alex and Anton could see that they were a bass and a pike. Now, that’s not particularly out of the ordinary on a lake. But there was something decidedly different about these two fish.
Incredibly, the pike had been caught in the act of trying to eat the bass. Indeed, the bass was still hanging out of the larger fish’s mouth. The ice had seemingly frozen the slippery pike mid-meal, capturing it in time like an eerie photograph.
Anton posted a picture of the extraordinary find on Facebook alongside the caption, “Out ice fishing in the rain and saw something [you] don’t see every day. A pike is frozen in action eating a big bass in the ice! The bass was around 14 inches so [you] get an idea of the pike’s size!! Crazy.”
Other Facebook users clearly agreed with him, too, as the photo quickly went viral. With more than 4,500 reactions, 15,000 shares and 2,300 comments, the picture soon inspired conversation and stoked controversy among thousands of online users. Indeed, the images also spread to Reddit and other social networks.
However, not all of the reactions from those who were sharing and discussing the image were entirely positive. In fact, many people doubted its authenticity. Thomas Sevigny, for instance, commented on Anton’s original Facebook post by saying, “It’s possible somebody staged that.”
As a result, the brothers decided to prove the legitimacy of their find. And to do so, they returned to the lake where they’d originally discovered the pike chowing down on the bass. Of course, they could have just taken a video to prove the existence of the frozen fish, but instead they elected to go one step further.
In fact, when they returned to the lake, they took a chainsaw to cut the fish out of the ice. As Anton began to saw into the frozen water, then, Alex filmed the entire process. And he subsequently posted the clip to social media in order to verify the brothers’ find.
Before that, however, they actually had to get the fish out of the lake without destroying the evidence. Anton therefore very carefully sawed a circle around the perfectly preserved fish before pulling the resulting ice block from the lake. The lower half of the pike subsequently hung from the bottom of the block, dangling in the freezing water.
Because of this, when pulled from the water the fish somehow looked even stranger than they had done beforehand. The real question, though, concerned precisely how this had happened in the first place. Just how had the fish ended up frozen there?
Facebook user Cynamyn Nelson noted that the fish would have had to have frozen instantly. He wrote, “How is it possible? It’s not like the movies like The Day After Tomorrow how s*** freezes within seconds… and this would have had to happen within seconds… I’m no scientist, but I’m calling shenanigans.”
Unsurprisingly, theories quickly popped up all over Facebook and Reddit as to how this strange occurrence might have transpired. And as the photograph continued to go viral, more and more people chimed in with their ideas.
First and foremost, however, Alex had his own theory behind the discovery. He surmised that a fisherman may have discarded the bass back into the lake – and that it had then died before floating back to the top of the ice. Afterwards, “the pike saw an easy meal, tried to eat it, but choked and died,” Alex told Canada’s Global News website.
One Reddit user, devjhold, agreed with Alex’s theory, stating that such occurrences were less uncommon than people might think. He wrote, “Been fishing my whole life and I’ve seen a few pike floating around dead with a meal too big stuck in their mouths. They’re super aggressive and greedy feeders.”
And, continuing to support Alex’s own theory about his discovery, devjhold added, “Chances are it ate the bass and died as he was unable to swallow the entire fish. Probably floating around the top already dead as the ice began to develop. Probably so well preserved because it was frozen.”
Yet in spite of the fact that this fisherman had encountered similar sights on a few occasions, it still remains an incredibly rare find. Alex, for one, told Global News that it was the first time he’d ever seen anything like this despite him ice fishing regularly.
When Anton and Alex Bubich stepped out onto the lake that chilly January day, they had no idea that they would find something so extraordinary – or that their discovery would then go viral. And regardless of how the fish ended up in that precarious position, it’s still an astonishing sight to have witnessed.