A nature lover north of Sydney has saved a catfish stuck at the surface of a lake after swallowing a basketball.

The man saw a basketball bobbing on the surface of Lake Macquarie and went to investigate.

©The Daily Telegraph
More than he could chew ... a catfish flathead in Lake Macquarie near Newcastle was stuck to the surface after swallowing a basketball.

Much to his surprise, he discovered a flathead catfish that had bitten off more than it could chew by trying to swallow a basketball.

The fish was completly exhausted from trying to dive with its flotsome fare, which popped it back to the surface each time it tried to dive.

The concerned rescuer tried unsuccessfully to free the hapless fish from its unfortunate predicament.

Finally, he and his wife improvised a solution by slashing, and thereby deflating, the basketball.