Perhaps the blue sturgeon moon brought in another rare sawfish to Florida’s waters, or maybe it was the work of Tropical Storm Fred. Whatever the cause, another group of anglers found the catch of a lifetime on the other end of their line.
While fisherman Peter Deeks and his friends were certainly thrilled to see a rare sawfish attached to their line, that wasn’t what they were initially after. Deeks and his crew boated onto Indian River Lagoon near Fort Dierks in Florida looking for snooks. Also known as the sergeant fish, the average female snook can grow up to 48 inches in length.
Snooks also have razor-sharp gills that can easily cut any unsuspecting anglers. However, these gills don’t compare to the teeth on the sawfish. Located on the “rostrum” or an elongated nose, the rare fish has saw-like teeth lining both sides. Not surprisingly, the anglers knew they had to be careful with this catch.
Watch the fishermen wrangle with the rare sawfish here.
Once Deeks and his friends realized what they managed to catch, they instantly grabbed the camera.
“Probably 12 feet long,” Deeks said in the video. “Maybe a bit bigger. So, its saw, itself, was about five feet long. That was the first sawfish that I’ve ever seen so it was really cool.”
That trumps a four-foot snook any day.
Anglers Try to Untie Rope From Rare Sawfish
Once the initial shock of the rare catch wore off, Deeks and his friends noticed the rope wrapped around the mouth of the sawfish.
Being the good samaritans they were, the anglers tried to help the fish get unstuck. The problem was the five-foot weapon jutting out of the water.
“Like a real saw, super sharp super dangerous,” Deeks told Fox 35.
As the fishermen continued to examine the rare sawfish, they thought the rope looked very familiar.
“The more we looked at it, it was the same type of palmer rope that’s used on crab traps, so what I think happened was – you know because it swims around on the bottom – that it got tangled up in a crab trap rope and then kinda set itself free,” Deeks explained.
That posed a difficult problem for the group trying to save the endangered and protected fish. In Florida, if an angler catches a rare sawfish, they must release it unharmed back into the water. Otherwise, the fisherman can receive federal charges. Soon, they realized that they couldn’t help the fish without hurting it or themselves.
“It wasn’t on there very tight but it was still tight enough where we tried to get it off a few times and then it just wasn’t safe for the fish, wasn’t safe for us, so we went ahead and let it go,” the fisherman said.
Although this didn’t result in a particularly happy ending, the group of friends might have just saved themselves from a potentially dangerous situation.
A tough call to make for sure.