Man revives snook but is still arrested

Man arrested for illegally catching fish

SEBASTIAN — A 37-year-old man was arrested after he revived a fish he illegally caught in closed season.

Fernando Pantoja, of the 1600 block of Wainright Street Southeast, Palm Bay, was charged with illegal method of snook harvest, possession of snook in closed season and possession of undersized black drum. He was released Saturday from the Indian River County Jail on $2,000 bail.

A deputy saw Pantoja shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday fishing in the Indian River at Riverview Drive, Sebastian. Pantoja was using a cast net to catch the fish, which is illegal for snook fish.

Pantoja also was fishing during closed season for snook fish and was catching undersized black drum fish, which is illegal, deputies said. When Pantoja saw the deputy, he began throwing the fish out of his cooler with both hands.

The deputy ran to Pantoja and told him to stop throwing the fish, but Pantoja continued. He told Pantoja he needed to pick up the fish he had thrown.

There were at least 10 fish under the water at the sand bottom, belly up and not moving, deputies said. A very large snook was floating sideways on top of the water.

When the deputy told Pantoja to grab the snook and put it in the cooler, Pantoja instead bumped the fish with his hands and made it come to life. The snook then swam away.

The deputy apprehended Pantoja at the scene and took him to the county jail for booking.

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