Surfers work to untangle a turtle trapped in fishing line with a lure attached at Double Island Point. Picture: Leigh Scard
Surfers work to untangle a turtle trapped in fishing line with a lure attached at Double Island Point. Picture: Leigh Scard

Surfers free turtle hopelessly trapped in fishing line

A TURTLE rescued by surfers at Double Island Point had been effectively "handcuffed” by almost the entire spool of a fishing reel.

Nineteen-year-old Harry Rahn from Maroochy River was surfing his longboard on a weekend trip when he saw a turtle swim slowly past with something shiny on its front flipper.

He jumped off his board, grabbed the turtle and brought it ashore where the full extent of its troubles were revealed.

Renowned big wave surfer David Scard who was on the beach with his family at the time quickly came over to offer assistance.

"It was completely entangled,” David said.

"The two front flippers were bound together. It was horrible. Someone has obviously hooked onto something big and been spooled.

"There was mono and braid.”

David Scard shows some of the 500m of fine line that had trapped the turtle's flippers
David Scard shows some of the 500m of fine line that had trapped the turtle's flippers

David estimates there would have been up to 500m of light braid and mono floating in the ocean which the passing turtle had been caught in and eventually wound back around its flippers.

"There was heaps of mono and braid. It was like the whole spool of line,” he said.

"It's not the fisherman's fault. These things happen. The turtle swam past and got caught in what was very light line. It's just lucky it didn't cut into its flippers. That braid will cut through anything.”

David said he worked quickly with Harry to get the turtle free of its trap which once back in the water took off in a healthy state.

Free to go. The turtle was freed of the line that had trapped it and was soon ready to be released back into the ocean.
Free to go. The turtle was freed of the line that had trapped it and was soon ready to be released back into the ocean.

He described the incident as a by-product of man's presence in the spectacular wilderness area.

"There were whales everywhere and dolphins feeding on bait fish out the back and someone saw a shark cut through,” he said.

Harry, who heads up the beach for the weekend every couple of months, said it had been the highlight of the trip though not the first time he has helped marine life in distress.

On another trip he had caught a shovel nose ray while fishing. When he reeled it in he found a pink hair tie had been caught over the creatures nose.

He removed the tie and released the ray back into the water.

Harry was delighted to see the turtle swim off on Saturday but a bit miffed he wasn't quick enough to get his hands on a free lure.

Off you go. Once back in the water the turtle quickly made tracks
Off you go. Once back in the water the turtle quickly made tracks


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