Pretty cool looking fish up close, but kinda menacing. I wouldn't want to handle him-aggressively swiped at the fly twice right near the boat.
Luckily broke off at the boat and swam away in good shape after a 10 min fight. Fly was a shiner pattern I use for largemouth.
Just read this online-I knew they were endangered and protected, and knew they weren't allowed to be harvested. Just learned you can't catch them either (unless of course it's accidental, as was in my case). In my defense, I actually thought it was a shark when it first swiped at the fly (water was muddy, was 20 feet away, etc). As I stripped the fly in, he swiped at it again and I was on! Anyway, he swam off no worse for the wear...
Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it is illegal to catch or harm an endangered sawfish. However, some fishermen catch sawfish incidentally while fishing for other species. NMFS and the Smalltooth Sawfish Recovery Team have developed guidelines to fishermen telling them how to safely handle and release any sawfish they catch.
I caught one about that size off of Long Key 15 or so years ago. I was wading for bonefish and saw the sawfish staying in the same location each day for about a week, so one day I switched to a large chartreuse and white Clouser and dragged it real slow past him a few times and he finally ate it. It was a trip getting the hook out! Would probably have been a world record on 8 as you could keep um then, but I didn't have the heart.
Well to be honest, off-color, tannin-stained or murky may be more accurate. The first pic is at boatside and you can see the dorsal fin but not the tail (and it was in <2 feet of water). In <2 feet of water, one should also see the bottom pretty clearly which is not the case in the pics above.
Thanks! The fish was caught north of Cape Sable and here's a pic of the fly.
Olive, yellow, white and light blue bucktail with some olive krystal flash in the middle, an epoxy head with big eyes, and synthetic red fishair for a bloody throat.
Peacock hurl on top for a black back. The hook is a #1/0 Gamakatsu (I think...)