Paint Mountain

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A South Carolina angler who thought he had hooked a stingray in a saltwater marsh was surprised to discover the creature on the end of his line was an alligator.

Captain Robert Birchmeier of Pawleys Island Beach to Creek Guide Service said he was fishing for flounder in Murrell’s Inlet when he felt something big on the end of the line.

“I think I got me a stingray,” Birchmeier says in a video he posted of the encounter. “Oh boy, that’s not a stingray.”

“Surprise, surprise,” Birchmeier says as an alligator thrashes around on the end of the line.

He said the reveal came as a shock.

“It felt like a stingray. It would run and then lay flat on the bottom, so that’s what I thought,” Birchmeier told Fox TV Stations. “I was not thinking alligator by any stretch of the imagination.”

The captain said he was able to remove the hook and safely release the gator. He said it was the first time he has hooked an alligator, but he has spotted them in the area before.

“I’ve got about 500 trips out there and a handful of times you see a small gator out there, it’s not rare but it’s not common,” Birchmeier said.