Florida Man Fishing The Everglades Saves The Life Of A 17-Foot Dinosaur With Terrifying Teeth

by 11 months ago
smalltooth sawfish caught in Chokoloskee by Josh Ludwig

Josh Ludwig

A Florida Man caught an extremely rare 17-foot Sawfish last weekend and ended up saving the peculiar creature’s life. He and a friend were fishing for snook, redfish, and tarpon (the normal game fish in the area).

Josh Ludwig of Naples, Florida initially thought he’d hooked into a large shark. He and his friend caught a glimpse of a fin in the dark water and estimated it to be a 9-foot shark of some sort. They were fishing out of Chokoloskee, a city that borders The Everglades National Park and looks as if you’re stepping back in time, a Jurassic Park or Land of the Lost style region.

The pair were fishing in a 16-foot flats boat, so it came as the shock of the century when TWO HOURS LATER a 17-foot sawfish emerged and it was larger than their boat. It’s also impressive as hell that angler Josh Ludwig was able to land the extremely rare sawfish, measuring 17-feet in length (more pics below), on the same rod and reel that he was using to catch snook and redfish.

Upon getting the sawfish next to their boat they recognized this sea monster as a very rare endangered species and also saw that the fish was in distress. The sawfish was wrapped up in an abandoned rope, a rope that would’ve eventually cut into the sawfish’s skin and caused potentially lethal injuries. Recognizing the severity of the situation, Josh Ludwig painstakingly removed the abandoned rope from the sawfish’s body, he revived the fish, and then released it back into the backwaters of Chokoloskee.

Centuries ago, the smalltooth sawfish used to be abundant in the waters of Southwest Florida. They were eventually fished to almost complete extinction because fishermen lusted after the iconic ‘saw’ on the tip of their heads. Fishermen kept these saws as trophies on the mantle, and before anyone realized what was happening the smalltooth sawfish was almost nonexistent.

The fish hasn’t exactly made a rebound either, even after being placed on the Endangered Species list where it’s listed as critically endangered. There are no estimates of just how many of these gorgeous fish are still out there in the wild. They are capable of growing up to 25-feet-long (according to Wiki), and can weigh close to a thousand pounds. The IGFA doesn’t have any records listed for the Largetooth or Smalltooth Sawfish because the latter is critically endangered, and thus these fish are ALWAYS released and never kept.

As rare as these fish are, they are still caught several times each year throughout Southwest Florida. Last Summer, this ENORMOUS sawfish was caught in Naples and just last August the bros over at BlacktipH Fishing caught this 700-pound sawfish. So while seeing one of these in the wild and/or catching one is exceedingly rare, it does happen on occasion.

If any of you bros out there ever want to go fishing in this part of the world I’d highly recommend going fishing with Capt. Wright Taylor of ‘Fly Fishing Marco’ (you don’t have to go fly fishing). I went out fishing with him in Chokoloskee over Labor Day weekend last Summer and it was one of (if not THE) most fun fishing days I’ve had in my life, and I’d definitely recommend him. He covers the 10,000 Islands, Naples, Chokoloskee, and Everglades areas if you are looking for that real/genuine backcountry fishing experience in Florida.

Lastly, I just wanted to send a big shout out to angler Josh Ludwig for allowing me to use the photographs he took of his sawfish for this article!

(h/t Naples News)

TAGSFishingFloridaoutdoorsSawfishSmalltooth Sawfish

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