A pelican's life was saved Sunday afternoon because a young fisherman and his dad were at the right place at the right time.
The Olde Fish House Marina in Matlacha is always a busy place. On weekends there is live music, good food and friends hanging out. Boats come and go into the marina and people fish off the dock. There's also no shortage of beggar pelicans nearby, waiting for a free lunch.
Commercial fisherman Sean Darr and his son, Connor, had made a big delivery, carrying in huge baskets of fresh fish right through the patio dining room. Connor, 8, dressed in shorts and white rubber boots identical to his dad's, was determined to carry his share.
Sean Darr untangles the monofilament from the pelican as son, Connor, watches.
Afterwards, Connor decided to do some fishing off the dock. He was successful and began throwing the smaller fish back which attracted the pelicans. He soon noticed one of the pelicans had monofilament wrapped around it's neck, with one hook in the mouth and another in the neck.
The employees of the restaurant put their canoe in the canal and tried to get close to the bird to no avail. Connor went to his boat and got some fish, waving them in front of the injured pelican. The bird came closer but not close enough for his dad to catch him. A sympathetic crowd started to gather. Sean Darr returned to his boat and came back with a cast net and more fish. Connor threw the fish and his dad threw the net, catching the troubled pelican. A cheer went up from the relieved bystanders. They gently walked him into shore and removed the line and hooks.
As the pelican took off, Connor threw another fish but the big bird did not look back.
Sean and Connor live in Bokeelia and fish off Pine Island in their Grouper Bandit boat called Double Vision. They said they find cut lines with hooks in the trees alongshore all the time and always remove them, often getting their hands cut. They said they wish others would be more considerate of the wildlife in the area.
The two are lifelong fisherman, Sean with more than 30 years and Connor has been in the boat since he was 2. The young man loves to fish and when he is not in school, he is on the boat, helping pull in 5,000 pounds of mullet on a good winter day.
The family fishing tradition is alive and well (and the pelican is too!).
- Terry Cacioppo provided the
information for this story.