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Fish Are Friends: Wisconsin Man Becomes Best Buds with Smallmouth Bass



Quick Smiles:

  • Rex Colubra, a 40-year-old Wisconsin native, has formed a unique friendship with a smallmouth bass named Elvis since their first meeting during a dive in September 2021. Elvis shows a strong bond with Colubra by following him around and protecting him from other fish.
  • Colubra visits Elvis every year and has established a communication system with him, using a specific “gulping grunt” call to alert the fish of his presence. To protect Elvis, Colubra keeps the location of the lake a secret and worries about the risks Elvis faces due to fishermen.
  • Colubra has transitioned from being an avid fisherman to swimming with fish, stating that it’s more rewarding. He shares his adventures and heartwarming interactions with Elvis on a TikTok account, which has over 100,000 followers.

When it comes to unlikely friendships, it doesn’t get much quirkier than the tale of Rex Colubra, a 40-year-old Wisconsin native, and Elvis, his smallmouth bass buddy.

Swimming alongside each other since their first encounter during a dive back in September 2021, this pair’s story serves as an uplifting reminder of the bond humans can share with all creatures, big or small, and yes, even those with scales!

Colubra, a print-shop worker and animal enclosure maker by profession, found an unexpected friend in Elvis, a fearless fish that decided to keep company with him during a dive.

Astonishingly, Elvis seemed to remember Colubra, enthusiastically greeting him when the diver returned to the same spot two weeks later.

A crawfish treat was the finishing touch that cemented their growing bond.

Now, visiting his aquatic companion every year is a highlight for Colubra.


As he shared in an interview with the South West News Service, “Elvis is completely obsessed with me. He follows me around and just stares me in the eyes. He’ll literally fight other fish if they get too close to keep them away.”

Talk about a faithful friend!

TikTok screenshot

Elvis, recognized by a face scar, and Colubra, identified by a specific “gulping grunt” call, have an unmistakable connection.

Even though Elvis’s scar, likely the result of a catch-and-release encounter with a fisherman, brought some worry to Colubra last year, he finds solace in their annual reunions and playful interactions.

Colubra does his best to protect Elvis, keeping the location of the lake a secret to safeguard his fish friend from potential fishing enthusiasts.

He’s even created a TikTok account, where he shares their adventures and heartwarming playdates with an audience of over 100,000 followers.


This unique relationship has profoundly impacted Colubra, who was once an avid fisherman himself.

After noticing the plight of many fish during a snorkeling trip, he swapped his fishing gear for a snorkel, deciding, “It’s far more rewarding to swim with them.”

Colubra and Elvis’s story is a tale of an unlikely friendship that extends beyond species, reminding us all that companionship can be found in the most unexpected places—or, in this case, creatures.