Lucky Florida Fisherman Lands Two Extremely Rare and Massive Gulf Sturgeon

by Amy Myers

Because they are only found from Louisiana to Florida, hooking a Gulf sturgeon is almost like spotting a unicorn. So, when this Florida fisherman ended up with two of these rare fish on his line, he knew he must be lucky.

David Graham of Fort Myers, Florida is no stranger to saltwater and freshwater fishing. A self-acclaimed “multi-species enthusiast,” Graham keeps a catalog of his catches on his blog, “Boundless Pursuit.” Looking for a challenge, the angler decided to take a last-minute trip to the Suwanee River where Gulf sturgeon frequently wander.

“Multi-species angling is all I ever do,” he told Field & Stream. “Gulf sturgeon is one of those fish I learned is here in the state. I never thought in a million years one would actually bite.”

Angler Snags a Second Sturgeon within the Hour

With four rigs by his side, he put nightcrawlers on one half and frozen shrimp on the other. He started at 5 p.m. Friday and didn’t even think of stopping until the following afternoon.

“I was waiting for the rain to stop,” he shared. “Shortly after it stopped, I was walking back and forth watching the sturgeon jump, when I looked over and one of my rods was bent over at an awkward angle, but it wasn’t moving. I thought it was snagged. I picked it up and applied a little pressure to pull it free, and it started pulling back. Even then, I thought it might be a giant turtle. I set the hook and then all hell broke loose.”

Shortly after hooking the first 300-pound monster, he found another one tugging on his line.

“It felt like playing the lottery,” he continued. “Right when I got to the mouth of a stream-fed river that fed into the Suwannee, I saw a sturgeon jump. I was like ‘Oh my god, they’re really here.’”

Watch the battle in the clip below.

Gulf Sturgeon Isn’t the Only Big Fish Graham Has Battled

Of course, Graham has had plenty of other meaningful exploits, and he’s even caught alligator gar which are just as highly sought after as Gulf sturgeon.

“I’ve caught big alligator gar before, but the sturgeon was faster and more powerful,” said Graham. “It made a blistering run upriver and then turned and went downstream and made another run.”

Ultimately, the experience of catching a Gulf sturgeon was so incredible that it left Graham completely exhausted – both physically and emotionally.

“I’ve caught a lot of cool fish, but it was so satisfying to catch a Gulf sturgeon that it was almost disappointing in a weird way,” he adds. “It made me want to go home, which is not normal. Typically, when I catch fish, I’m excited and want to keep fishing. But it was such a climactic, happy moment that it was all I needed. I don’t think anything that I ever catch for the rest of my life would match it in terms of rareness.”