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A man from Lancashire went out on a fishing trip hoping to catch a shark but ended up hooking an even rarer nautical giant. You can catch a glimpse of this unusual sea beast in the video below:
On his half-day trip out with his captain they left Port Canaveral and headed out a few miles into the Atlantic Ocean looking for sharks.
Upon dangling some bluefish into the water on his hook, Atherton – from Fleetwood – managed to get a bite almost straight away.
What ensued was a battle between fish and fisherman that lasted nearly an hour, until the fish eventually succumbed and headed for the surface.
That’s when they discovered that it wasn’t a shark at all, but a rare 13-foot-long sawfish.
If you’ve ever seen a sawfish you’ll know why they bear that name – imagine, if you will, a hedge trimmer that swims around underwater.
The saw on their head is called a rostrum and can grow to be around five-feet long.
The fish is also known as a carpenter shark – although they are closer to rays than sharks - and despite looking pretty fearsome they have rarely been known to attack humans, unless acting in self-defence.
Ian and Jon were naturally pretty shocked to see the tell-tale rostrum being dragged up from the depths towards them, and instantly realised they hadn’t bagged the shark they were after.
Still, it’s a story to tell, right?
Because the sawfish is endangered, they aren’t supposed to be fished out of the water.
In truth, it’s probably fishing that led to the sawfish becoming endangered.
So, Captain Jon managed to free the fish without it ever having to come out of the water, and it promptly swam off.
The smalltooth sawfish is one of five species of sawfish found around the world, but the only one that is native to this part of Florida.
They can grow to be up to 16-feet in length and are extremely uncommon because of over-fishing in the last century.
In certain cultures the sawfish has a mythical standing and some people in West Africa interpret the saw as a symbol of courage.
Luckily, this one will live to fight another day, and the fisherman had a unique experience that he won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
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