Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors go to Myrtle Beach’s Broadway at the Beach to enjoy the outdoors, have some dinner and shop. Another main attraction is the crazy, starving fish that populate the manmade lakes that make up Broadway at the Beach. Here is a story about what visitors think about the fish and where they came from:
Five-year old Karley Reynolds didn’t quite know what to think about the hundreds of starving fish mouths staring up at her Friday afternoon at Broadway at the Beach.
“They are icky,” she said with a look of disgust on her face. “But they are funny.”
As soon as Reynolds held her arm through the railings on the bridge, the fish seemed to go crazy.
“How can they tell I have food?” she asked her mother.
One by one, Reynolds gave the flopping fish pellets of food.
Each fish seemed to be trying to get the most food possible and was willing to do absolutely anything — including almost hopping out of the water — to get that extra bite.
Making the fight even harder for these large aquatic animals are the ducks also vying for the same morsels of food.
“There are so many of them and they seem to be starving,” said Fatundra Speight, of Greensboro, N.C. “How can they be so hungry?”
With the thousands of visitors each day that pass through of Myrtle Beach’s top shopping destinations per day, it’s not likely the fish are starving.
However, that doesn’t stop many visitors from digging at least one quarter out of their pocket and putting it in the gum-ball type machine to get some food pellets to feed the fish.
Wondering how these legions of fish came to call Broadway at the Beach home?
Melissa Armstrong, marketing manager at Broadway at the Beach, said Burroughs & Chapin purchased thousands of Israeli Carp, Catfish, Japanese Carp, Bream and Hybrid Bass to stock the body of water now affectionately know as Lake Broadway, when the complex opened in 1995.
Since being put in the pond, the fish have multiplied well beyond the number originally purchased.
“We can’t begin to guess the number of fish in the lake,” Armstrong said. “In 1995, Burroughs & Chapin purchased a total of 29,000, but we don’t know how many there are now.”
Sometimes the fish are so densely packed together in the lake that the ducks competing for their food can actually stand on the solid ground created by fish heads and bodies.
When asked about visitors’ general reaction to the fish Armstrong says most people love them.
“They absolutely love them. We have posed the question ‘What [are] your favorite things about Broadway at the Beach?’ on Facebook and it is amazing the number of responses we receive related to feeding the fish,” she said.
Steve Hammond, a visitor from Star, S.C., agrees.
“We come to Myrtle Beach and Broadway at the Beach every year and we always take a few minutes to feed the fish,” he said. “I can’t believe they always seem so hungry. They must get plenty of food.”
According to Armstrong, Hammond’s assumption is correct. The fish get so much food from visitors that the Broadway at the Beach staff does not need to provide food for the fish at all.
Aubrey Geppert, 14, of West Virginia, said her first time feeding the fish was on a recent visit to Broadway and that after looking at them she can’t help but imagine them saying “gimme food” over and over again.
“It seems to be the only thing they think about,” she said.
Even with so many fish feeding enthusiasts, one method of feeding the fish remains taboo. Though many visitors will attest to having seen other patrons spit into Lake Broadway to “feed the fish,” not one would admit to having done so themselves.
Then there’s the folks for whom the fish take on a deeper meaning beyond just simple entertainment. One visitor, Gail Ford, was astonished by the fish and said that she dreams of schools of fish whenever someone she knows is pregnant.
“It is crazy, but I see fish just like these in my dream,” she said. “It is weird.”
|Often ducks fight with the fish over the same morsels of food.|