Anybody that likes to fish has experienced “the one that got away.”
A fish that hits the lure hard and fights tough but ultimately never winds up in the net, hauled ashore, or pulled into the boat. Sometimes the line breaks, sometimes the hook slides out of its mouth, and sometimes a bald eagle swoops down, grabs the fish with its talons, and flies off into the wind to eat your fish.
Getting robbed by a bald eagle is exactly what happened to a fly fisherman near Sitka, Alaska, earlier this summer. The angler was reeling in an Arctic char on a picturesque wilderness stream when a bald eagle swooped down from the trees, snatched the char, and took off for the sky.
The guy holding the rod could do nothing but stand there in awe as the line unspooled rapidly off of the reel. The eagle eventually ripped the fish right off the hook, and the fisherman found some solace in the fact that the eagle ripped the fish clean off the hook, so at least it didn’t steal his fly too.
His disbelief at what he was witnessing is exhibited perfectly exhibited by his colorful language. I imagine losing the fish is worth capturing incredible footage like this on camera.
Bald eagles are more prevalent in Alaska than anywhere else in the world. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the state is home to an estimated 30,000 of the birds.
While the bald eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782, the species has been a spiritual symbol for Alaska Natives for far longer than that.
Eagles are primarily fish eaters, and Alaska’s widespread waterways and world-class fisheries offer excellent habitat and provide abundant food sources for the birds, which is why the state is home to such robust eagle populations.