An Alabama family went fishing for striped bass but ended up rescuing a bald eagle that got caught in its snare.
“He swooped down and grabbed our live bait. It looked like a 3- or 4-year-old eagle,” said Mike Freeman, who was fishing on Alabama’s Smith lake Sunday with a guide and his two children, Trevor and Julia.
While Freeman said his first instinct was to cut the line, he said his quick-thinking son pulled out his smartphone and looked to Google for an answer.
“Of course, there weren’t any directions for what to do if you hook a bald eagle, but there were for pelicans, so we followed those directions,” Freeman said.
“The first direction was don’t cut the line,” he said. “We trolled over to it and Bubba, the guy who was with us, grabbed it by the leg and unhooked it.”
Freeman said the bird then swam to shore where it idled for a minute before flying away.
“It was an intense and extraordinarily rewarding day to see him fly off uninjured,” he said.
The bald eagle — America’s national symbol — was taken off the endangered species list in 2007.