While most Americans celebrated the Fourth of July holiday by heading out to a local lake or pool to beat the heat, Zach Miller and his friends from Team Rebel Fishing were enjoying hot fishing action and accomplishing an amazing feat: catching three sawfish in three nights from one bridge in Florida.

Zach Miller shark angler Photo courtesy of Field and Stream

“We just started trying to do stuff that other people never thought of doing,” Miller says. “We’re just trying to put our edge, our stamp, on fishing without taking ourselves too seriously. And when it comes to land-based fishing, I think we push the envelope. ”

His first catch, a 16-foot sawfish, took an hour to reel in and knocked four men down in the process.

“I was the first person on my feet and I could see the fish’s saw sticking up out of the water—it was probably 6 feet long. It swung its head 180 degrees like it was attacking and hit a rock with its saw. The rock broke! After that, I decided to stand back a little. With two kicks of its tail, it was gone. We didn’t get a single photo and I just kept thinking to myself, ‘When is the next time I’m going to get an opportunity like that?’”

Miller was right to assume he wouldn’t get another opportunity. Sawfish are hard to come by; in fact, they’re listed as a federally protected endangered species, which makes catching one a challenge. Catching three, especially over three consecutive nights, is unheard of — until now.

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Photos: Florida Museum of Natural History (top); Field & Stream (above)

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Shannon Rikard
Shannon Rikard is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for conservation and wedding and portrait photography. The Archery Trade Association and National Wild Turkey Federation have published her work. A self-professed word geek, she enjoys Wheel of Fortune, crossword puzzles, and finding a dynamite synonym to illustrate any point. After starting her career in public relations with a national conservation organization, she ventured out on her own with Copper Door Studios.