Unprecedented Catch: Angler Lands ‘Prehistoric’ Smalltooth Sawfish on Sanibel Beach

Kevin Butcher, a seasoned angler with 51 years of fishing experience, recently embarked on a fishing adventure on the pristine shores of Sanibel Island. What he reeled in that day was nothing short of remarkable—a fish so unique that it left him in awe, evoking images of “Pirates of the Caribbean” and prehistoric creatures.

Butcher, hailing from Minnesota, found himself face-to-face with a smalltooth sawfish, a species he had never encountered before. The extraordinary catch occurred on September 9, 2023, as he wielded his trusty Penn fishing rod and Penn 5500 VI reel. His fishing spot was the beach near West Gulf Drive, not far from the Shalimar Cottages and Hotel that had once stood before the forces of Hurricane Ian.

Describing the capture as a process, Butcher revealed that it took over half an hour of determined effort to finally unveil the mystery at the end of his line. He had employed cut whiting as bait, and the initial strike occurred at 12:45 p.m., with the colossal fish finally resting at his feet on the beach by 1:26 p.m.

Estimating the smalltooth sawfish to be an impressive 9 feet in length and weighing approximately 150 pounds, Butcher couldn’t resist the opportunity to capture the moment. He had a few photographs taken before gently returning the captivating creature to the Gulf waters, likening it to a return to “Davey Jones’ locker.”

Interestingly, Butcher admitted that he was initially unaware that the smalltooth sawfish holds a classification as endangered and is protected at both the state and federal levels. Local advice at a bait shop had suggested that such catches were more common in canals, furthering the angler’s astonishment.

As for handling the fish, Butcher confessed to feeling a mixture of apprehension and awe. The powerful creature’s vigorous thrashing made for a memorable and slightly nerve-wracking encounter.

It’s essential to emphasize that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission explicitly states on its website that when it comes to the smalltooth sawfish, it should not be pulled out of the water, handled, or restrained in any manner.

Butcher’s connection to Sanibel runs deep; he recently purchased a vacation home on the island after spending a decade visiting its shores. Reflecting on the experience, he remarked, “Both my grandpa and my dad took me fishing at a very young age, but we don’t have fish like that in Minnesota.”

Images/Source: NewsPress

This entry was posted in Fishing News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.