So, Joe ran up and took over. He pulled and tugged and grimaced and reeled for about ten minutes. Both he and his father were convinced that the mystery creature must be at least 15 pounds and...well...huge!
The fishing line bended and curved until at last the sea creature surfaced for a split second.
..... a stingray!
Stingrays are one of my favorite sea critters. I especially love to encounter them at depth when I'm scuba diving. So, I was concerned about the well being of this ray. It was quite big and putting up a heck of a fight. I didn't want it to die because it chomped down on a grunt which actually was a fisherman's bait.
Joe maneuvered the hooked ray and walked it all the way down the fishing pier. During the 45 minute adventure, the ray continued to thrash and Joe struggled to hold on.
At last he and his father landed it. They measured and weighed it (57 inches, 17 pounds!) and avoided getting stabbed by the ray's stinger. Then, they dropped it back into Sarasota Bay, where it swam away quickly. Yeah!
Not only was it nice to see the stingray released, it was great to see this father-son team in action problem solving together. Their congratulatory high-five at the end said it all.