Todd Vandergaag was surf fishing for nearly three hours when he hooked into something big. He had no way of knowing it was an endangered sawfish.
Vandergaag was fishing into the evening with friends in the surf halfway between Venice Beach and Sharky's in Florida. These guys are no strangers to landing big fish. They were using cut bait when they hooked the elusive, and endangered, sawfish.
Todd had a Duel 12/0w 2 speed spooled with 300-pound braid, finished off with 125-pound mono for his topline; a setup I'm sure he's hooked many a large shark on.
Vandergaag reports that the fish fought hard for the first five minutes, and that the fight lasted 45 minutes, but most of the battle was fairly uneventful. Until the guys attempted to land the toothy fish. That's when the sawfish woke up. Todd said the fish "came in green, slapping my legs and body."
He took a bit of a beating making sure to unwrap every bit of mono wrapped around its saw, before releasing it, very much alive, back into the sea.
They didn't get a weight, wanting to get it back into the ocean as quickly as possible, but they did get a length. After putting the 13-foot rod aside the beast, they realized it was every bit of it and then some; at least a fourteen-footer.
Now that's the type of catch that keeps anglers returning to the water.