Florida angler hooks 12-pound bass, then battles eagle for

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May 19, 2002

Young angler hooks 12-pound bass, then battles an eagle for the catch

By Joe Julavits, Jacksonville Times-Union


Chris Jorgensen had to fight a bald eagle for this bass. The eagle gave up because the bass was too heavy for it.
-- Joe Julavits/Staff

When Chris Jorgensen hooked a giant bass in the St. Johns River, he found himself in a wild tug o' war for the prize fish with a bald eagle.

Jorgensen, 21, was fishing recently with David Copenhaver near the mouth of Six Mile Creek in St. Johns County. Jorgensen pitched a yellow buzzbait toward the bank, and on the retrieve, only about 10 feet from the boat, the bass nailed it.

"Out of nowhere, this eagle slammed the bass," Jorgensen said. "I didn't seem him coming. At first I thought it was an osprey, but it was definitely an eagle.

"I was yelling and screaming at him. I knew it was a big bass."

The eagle tried to fly off with Jorgensen's bass, but because of the fish's weight, it could only lift the fish 3 or 4 feet off the water.

"The bass was kicking, and I was pulling with the pole," Jorgensen said. "Then the eagle sat there and flapped and flapped with the bass in its claws.

"This went on for several minutes, and finally the eagle dropped it and flew off."

Jorgensen reeled in the wounded bass, which didn't put up much of a fight. On the scale at Pacetti's Marina on nearby Trout Creek, the fish weighed 12 pounds, the largest bass Jorgensen has caught.

Jorgensen said he considered releasing the fish, but didn't because he didn't think it would live.

"I didn't think anybody would believe me, but they could see the claw marks on the bass," Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen's mother, Susan Hunter, will have the bass mounted, eagle scars and all.

"It was crazy -- I never experienced anything like that," Jorgensen said. "I wish I'd had a video camera."
 

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