Blue threadfins are notoriously energetic fighters for their size and will just run about every which way once hooked. That is why when Ben Stack suddenly felt the line suddenly stop and turn into a dead weight, he supposed the fish had gotten snagged under a log. What he reeled in was no log, however. The Queensland native was fishing off of Australia’s Cape York when he pulled in a crocodile that had fastened its jaws around his catch.

“I couldn’t believe what I had just experienced and I didn’t think anybody was going to believe me,” Stack wrote on Facebook.

Stack’s story may have very well turned into another fish tale, if it was not for the photographs that he took. Saltwater crocodiles are undoubtedly one of the most dangerous animals in Australia and kill about two people each year. They are especially dangerous to anglers, and in 2014, a man who waded into the Adelaide River to untangle his line was attacked and killed by a large crocodile. Even in a boat these powerful reptiles can be a threat—and Stack said he got the shock of a lifetime.

“My 60lb leader surfaced and I leant over the boat and grabbed the leader with both hands,” he recalled. “Leaning over the side of the boat, hand over hand, I began pulling the leader in. By this stage, I was expecting to see a large branch or log come to the surface from under my boat. The water was a bit murky so I was really hanging over the side to get a good look.

“What took place in the next few seconds felt like a lifetime. Or was it that I felt like my life only had a few seconds. First, I saw a bit of silver, then I saw my lure with the fishes mouth wide open. I lifted the leader some more and leaned over further to see what the fish was hooked up on. It was at this moment, I realised I was staring eye to eye with a solid salt water crocodile. We were face to face and no more than 20 inches apart. Fright kicked in, I released the leader and flew backwards into the boat.”

As for the crocodile, it was not about to let go of Stack’s fish anytime soon. Once he recovered from the intial shock, Stack was surprised to find that the reptile stayed near the boat, probably attempting to drag the fish back underwater. The angler used the opportunity to snap a few quick photos before he cut the line and the crocodile sunk back into the depths.

Stack warned other anglers to be careful around bodies of water with crocodiles. These scaly reptiles are easily drawn with the prospect of a free meal, and they are not picky when it comes to what kind of fish—or a hand—is in the water.

Images from Facebook

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