Angler hooks, reels in scuba diver off Alabama coast

ORANGE BEACH, ALABAMA—A scuba diver with plenty of experience catching fish, found himself on the other side of the line, thankfully becoming the one that got away.

J.T. Thompson was diving and doing some spearfishing with a friend off the Alabama coast when he found himself hooked. The friends were diving at a wreck called The Lulu, about 17 miles off the coast of Orange Beach, on June 27, when Thompson felt something in his neck. 

Thompson told news outlets he was 100 feet down and had just shot a snapper and was trying to pull the fish in when he felt a jerk and then suddenly he was being dragged to the surface. He said he grabbed it to see what it was and knew instantly what had happened.

By the time he got to the surface, Thompson said the boat and the angler had already taken off, leaving him and his diving buddy in the dark as to who made the catch. Despite the hook going through his scuba gear, neck and hand, Thompson was not seriously injured, but told news outlets he hopes his story will remind people rules and regulations are there for a reason.

Thompson told news outlets they were the only boat in the area when they arrived. He said they put their dive flag up and two other boats arrived before they got into the water. He said the anglers told them they were going to wait and drop after Thompson and his buddy did their thing.

The Lulu, a 270-foot freighter that sank in 2013, is both a popular dive and fishing spot. Anglers use the water but at a recommended 200 feet from the dive flag. 

Thompson told news outlets he can now say he knows how it feels to be on the other side of the line.

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