TEXAS — When you cast your line into a brackish pond or river, you never know quite what kind of fish you're going to catch. Maybe you'll land a catfish or carp. Or perhaps there will be a bass on your hook. In some parts of the country, it could even be something as gargantuan as an alligator gar.
A recent video highlights the fact that there's always the chance you'll pull out something that's definitely not a fish. The action begins with two anglers sitting on the shore of small creek in Texas, hoping for lunker catfish. They land one flathead but end up missing on most the bites.
Then something strange happens. An immense weight pulls at the end of the angler's line, but it doesn't act like a catfish. Instead, it's a 50-pound alligator snapping turtle. And it's armed with a monstrous-looking beak that could chomp off a finger in the blink of an eye.
"These turtles are actually protected," says the angler, as he carefully holds the massive creature. "It's illegal to keep 'em. There's even a black market for them, apparently. We gotta get this guy back in the water now. What an honor to catch this amazing animal!"
Alligator snapping turtles actually get much larger than the one seen in this video, but that doesn't mean a 50-pounder is something to sniff at. These brutes are built like tanks and they don't take kindly to people who get too close to them. I once tried to move one off a road in Pennsylvania, because I was afraid it'd get hit by a car. Despite my good intentions, the turtle nearly mangled my hand.
Anyhow, it's always fun to see a surprise visitor like this on a fishing trip. What's the strangest thing you've ever hooked while fishing? Let us know in the comments!