Man says Bass Lake fish attacked him, leaving mark

FRESNO, Calif.

Bass Lake is known as a popular spot for boating, fishing, and swimming, but now it's the scene of a bizarre attack.

Jason De La Cruz says he suffered a flesh wound from a feisty fish. The father of four was swimming his usual route from Marina View to a tiny island near the Bass Lake dam Sunday when he felt something hit his leg.

"And I turned around and at that point, I couldn't believe it, but there was about a 2 foot fish coming toward me," De La Cruz said.

Jason says he tried pushing the fish away, but it circled around and came right back at him.

"So the second time I had to actually punch it for it to move," he said.

He finally made it to the island and had a chance to check out the injury. A sheriff's deputy on boat patrol then guided him back to the shore, where Jason showed his children.

"And I told him well believe it or not kids, I gotta show this, a fish bit me out there on the water, I couldn't believe it," he said.

His family then posted a picture on Facebook, and it quickly spread through the community. Jason believes the bite came from a very big bass, and other residents in this area say they grew up hearing stories of huge fish here. But not everyone is buying that theory hook, line, and sinker.

"If that is a bite mark, it is much more likely to be a cat fish than a bass. It's certainly not the lOch Ness Monster, that much we're certain of, but that would be a pretty big bass to get its mouth open that large," Tom Tuso, Bass Lake Boat Rentals Manager, said.

Tuso has worked in this area for more than 30 years and says families have no reason to fear the water.

"It's a very good user friendly lake, and I would welcome everyone to come up here, and let's see who can catch that guy," Tuso said.

Jason jokes anyone who tries better bring a big pole, but he's agrees, it's no reason to avoid this refreshing recreation spot.

"I will swim here again, and my family will still swim here, so it's not dangerous here, but it is quite a story I'll have to tell my grandkids," he said.

Although Jason says he's not afraid to go back in the water, he is considering bringing a flotation aid in the future, just in case that big fish strikes again.

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