NewsPinellas County


150-lb. loggerhead turtle rescued off coast of Honeymoon Island after swallowing hook

Posted at 7:34 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 19:46:19-04

HONEYMOON ISLAND, Fla. -- A 150-pound loggerhead turtle had to be rescued off the coast of Honeymoon Island Sunday after she swallowed a fishing hook.

Philip Beck and his brother in law had gone out in hopes they’d catch some fish. They say seconds after they caught a cut up blue fish, the turtle snatched on.

"We didn’t realize that they would bite something from a pole let alone get hooked,” Beck said.

The turtle swallowed two lines and two hooks. Beck was able to get the circle hook out but not the J hook.

He says the difference between the two is in the design and if they the situation may have been prevented if they didn’t use a J hook.

"I’ll never use a J hook again,” Beck said.

Feeling terrible, he attempted to get the turtle into his boat.

"We realized how big [the turtle] was and how powerful and we were in her environment at the time so it was a losing battle,” he said.

Instead, he and FWC officers guided the turtle to shore. The journey lasted nearly three hours, which ended with plenty of beach goers whipping out their phones to document the amazing rescue.

"We were the reason why that turtle was put in that situation, we wanted to make sure that we were able to put that turtle in a situation to fully recover,” he said.

He hopes others would do the same thing.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium says the hook was successfully removed from the 20 to 30-year-old turtle but she is in serious condition.

ABC Action news will keep up with the turtles recovery and update you when we know.