NAVARRE — Christopher Dudley spent Tuesday afternoon like he spends most of his days off — fishing at the Navarre Pier.
But when he cast his line into the Gulf, it caught something that wasn’t a fish. A pelican that was floating on the water below got the fishing line wrapped around his wing and needed rescuing.
“I’ve done that with seagulls before, but never a pelican,” Dudley said after he and some other fishermen pulled the bird up onto the dock and cut the line off his wing.
“Luckily the hook didn’t go in,” he continued. “Seagulls will bite your fish out of the water and fly away. Then it’s like catching a kite.”
The pelican didn’t put up too much of a fight while the men held him down, trying to free him. After about two minutes of unraveling and cutting the line, they let the bird go and it quickly flew away.
The Eglin Air Force Base firefighter spends a lot of time fishing on the pier. Just a few minutes before the pelican incident, Dudley said he had a king mackerel on his line but lost it.