Anglers Accidentally Catch 6-Foot Saltwater Crocodile on Fishing Line

A pair of anglers accidentally caught a saltwater crocodile on a fishing line and posted video footage of the unusual encounter on the internet.

Ren Pedersen and a friend were fishing at Black River in Queensland, Australia, when they ensnared a bigger catch than they'd bargained for.

The video shows the crocodile struggling against the fishing line, rolling frantically in the water in an effort to break free.

"What do I do, grab him by the head?" Pedersen can be heard asking, before the animal starts floating closer to the boat, mouth agape and nearly motionless.

"It's like it's stunned," he says, before setting about trying to free the crocodile from the line. As the camera cuts away, Pedersen can be heard grunting loudly, exclaiming, "He's strong."

The reptile can then be seen thrashing around again, and though the exact moment of release isn't caught on film, after disentangling the crocodile Pedersen celebrates in front of the camera.

"After a lengthy fight, it was even a greater challenge to take treble hooks out of the angry reptile, by hand," he wrote in a post on Facebook, in which he also had a light-hearted dig at his friend's camera skills.

"Twice I tried holding its head & it went wild, then carefully/slowly removed [the] lure from near its leg. Was snapping [the] whole time. Disappointed [the encounter] wasn't filmed, but whatever..."

Pedersen said the animal was around 2 meters (more than 6 feet) long and that he caught it on a 12-pound fishing line.

That makes it small by saltwater crocodile standards.

The apex predators can grow to more than 13 feet in length and over 600 pounds, and though attacks on humans are relatively rare, saltwater crocodiles have been responsible for numerous deaths.

Records kept by Queensland's Department of Environment and Science (DES) show that there have been 12 fatal saltwater crocodile attacks on people in the region since 1985, and 29 non-fatal attacks.

Saltwater crocodiles are ambush predators, and fully grown adults will feed on "whatever they can overpower," according to the DES. Their prey includes sea turtles, goannas, wallabies, feral cats and pigs, dogs, kangaroos, cattle, horses, buffalo and even other crocodiles.

A spokesperson for the DES commended Pedersen and his friend for freeing the crocodile without handling it directly, but warned that even "small crocodiles can inflict serious injuries," according to 7News Australia.

"People who entangle crocodiles of any size in fishing lines or nets, or discover an entangled crocodile, are urged to cut the line as short as possible where that can be done safely, and to contact DES wildlife officers via the QWildlife App," it added.

A saltwater crocodile's head emerging from water
A stock image shows a saltwater crocodile, not related to the animal that was involved in the incident. The predators can weigh more than 600 pounds, and will eat anything they can overpower. jtstewartphoto/iStock