‘What a fish. Wowza!’ Florida tourist reels in rare catch off Brevard

British man pulls in 13-foot sawfish

Sawfish reeled in by Fin & Fly Fishing Charters (Fin & Fly Fishing Charters)

COCOA BEACH, Fla. – A British man visiting Brevard County this past weekend now has the ultimate fishing story to tell his family and friends.

Local fishing charter company Fin and Fly said Ian Atherton hitched a ride early Saturday with the hopes of catching a shark. The boat was in about 35 feet of water, about a quarter mile off Cocoa Beach, when they cast a line out that was baited with a chunk of oily blue fish.

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Captain Jon Cangianella was at the helm of the charter when Atherton reeled in something extremely rare: a nearly 13-foot Sawfish.

Video captured the surprising moment that Atherton pulled the giant fish to the surface.

See the video below

“It was the catch of a lifetime for him,” Captain Jamie Glasner told News 6. “We have only caught two sawfish in the last 17 years of business, and the last one was back in August, so it’s pretty rare.”

According to NOAA, sawfish live in tropical seas and estuaries (semi-enclosed areas where rivers meet the sea) of the Atlantic Ocean. They are most at home in shallow, coastal waters and sometimes enter the lower reaches of freshwater river systems. In the U.S. , they can be found in Florida’s coastal waters.

Fin & Fly Fishing Charters (Fin & Fly Fishing Charters)

Sawfish are also an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.

“We used a special dehooking tool and the sawfish never left the water,” said Glasner. “They released him and he swam away with no problems.”

The charter ended with some more success, with Atherton catching some mackerel.

Ian Atherton and King mackerel (Fin & Fly Fishing Charters)

Fin & Fly Fishing Charters offers inshore, deep sea fishing, shark fishing and more from the Cocoa Beach and Port Canaveral areas.

Click here to learn more.

About the Author:

Landon joined News 6 in 2017. He grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in TV and digital media. When he is not at work you can catch him at one of Orlando's theme parks or the beach. Before working at News 6 he worked for stations in Miami and Fort Myers.