From mystery eels to deep-sea oreos, it's been a month full of fish stories! But a two-for-one fishsicle still has the internet arguing. Several weeks ago, two brothers from Indiana stumbled across this bass-and-pike pair frozen solid in a death grip. Their photo was called out as fake by commenters online, but now they've set the record straight. 

fish-orig-2017-1-31.jpg
A bass-eating pike, frozen solid in an Indiana lake. Image: Anton Babich/Facebook

Accusations of fakery came flooding in shortly after Anton and Alex Babich posted a photo of their find to Facebook. And while it certainly seems unlikely that a fish would freeze to death mid-gulp, it doesn't necessarily follow that this was a setup or a fabricated image. To prove it, the brothers returned to the fishy scene – and this time, they brought a chainsaw!

A few cuts later, they pulled an ice block from the lake, which clearly contains both a frozen bass and its equally frozen opponent.

To understand what happened here, look no further than last month's frigid foxes

fox-2-2017-1-12.jpg
Image: Sharing Alaska/Facebook

It looks strange, but this kind of fatal freeze is common in regions where sudden cold snaps occur. And as was the case with the foxes, these fish were likely dead before they reached the surface. 

It appears the pike bit off more than it could chew (something we've seen before), and with its gills blocked, it was unable to pull oxygen from the surrounding water. The bass, meanwhile, died halfway down the pike's gullet. Afterwards, the bodies simply floated onward and upward, and froze with the lake overnight. 

A pair of moose in Alaska recently met a similar fate after a duel ended in deadly hypothermia:

fox-moose-2017-1-11.jpg
Image: Jeff Hickney/Facebook 

The difference is that our unlucky fishes would probably still be swimming were it not for their predatory embrace. Piscine inhabitants are well equipped to handle cold temperatures, and many can adjust their metabolisms to deal with lower oxygen levels and lack of food. Pike stay relatively active during winter, but they often opt for more challenging, dangerous prey – like this bass, or spiky panfish like bluegills. 

The Babich brothers, meanwhile, have no intention of mounting their unusual find (as some have suggested). "The pike was very smelly and mouldy," they wrote on YouTube. "So, we just did video and pictures, and put it back for others to see."

Should you happen upon a similar scene, we wouldn't recommend venturing out to photograph it. Icy waters can be treacherous, and these brothers are experienced ice fishermen.

__

Top header image: Trendy Outdoorsman/YouTube