Sea Turtle

Ron Matthews submitted this photo of a 250-pound sea turtle Garrett native Brad Runion caught off the coast of Fort Myers Beach last winter.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — While on a business trip in Fort Myers, Florida in January, Brad Runion reached out to Ron Matthews for a ride from the airport, during which time they arranged a day to go fishing.

During that outing, Runion caught a 250-pound sea turtle about three miles out from Fort Myers Beach, according to Matthews.

“The guide (Noah out of Port Sanibel Marina) helped a lot, as he talked Brad through how to work up the turtle from 60 feet down,” said Matthews. “(Brad) got it up slow and cut the line close to the hook, as we hooked it by accident.” The turtle was left in the water the entire time and released.

The hook was made to dissolve in 100 days and do no harm to the turtle.

“The guide did not want the line to break as it could be a problem for the turtle if the line tangles on anything in the Intracoastal (Waterway),” Matthews added.

“Brad is now the ‘turtle king.’ We were fishing for sea trout on a reef, and we caught enough for lunch,” he said. “In the deep south, the guide cleans the fish and you take them to some local places and they fix them for you for lunch. (Just a deep south thing they do to be kind to fisherman.)

“We had lunch at the light house at Port Sanibel Marina and called (wife) Annetta Matthews and she joined us for lunch as Brad’s guest,” Matthews added. “As the guide knew what to do, the turtle was left behind unharmed.

“Thank the Lord we had a true guide. It was the first time any of us saw a big sea turtle, and we were all real pleased as the guide knew each move to make.”

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