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A Florida fisherman got a humongous surprise recently when the 700-pound fish he’d hooked turned out to be a critically endangered prehistoric monster.

While filming an episode for extreme fishing show “BlacktipH Fishing,” producer Joshua Jorgensen hooked a 17-foot sawfish, not realizing at first what he was getting himself into.

As the fish whipped its massive tail and serrated saw, the fisherman came to understand that he was going to have to hold on and enjoy the ride.

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“I’m hooked up to an absolute monster,” Jorgensen said, wondering if the fish was a giant ray. “He’s dragging this boat literally wherever he wants to drag it.”

As soon as he realized what was on his line, Jorgensen looked into the camera and said he needed to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission because he’d hooked a sawfish.

“I’ve never seen one of these in my life and it’s a very endangered species,” he said.

“How do we handle it?” Jorgensen asked an FWC agent on the phone.

He was told not to pull the fish out of the water but to try and get an accurate measurement before cutting the line.

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“Research is underway to learn more about these elusive creatures, but one thing is for certain: They are dangerous,” FWC said on its Facebook page. “If you catch a sawfish, be sure to keep it in the water at all times, cut the line as close to the hood as safely possible and report the encounter to (the FWC sawfish hotline) 947-255-7403 or sawfish@myfwc.com.”

The FWC also took a moment to point out that while the species is prehistoric, “sawfish are obviously not a type of dinosaur, nor are they sharks. They are actually a type of ray.”

Statesman |