After Fernando Pantoja was discovered using a castnet in the Indian River by an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, he knew he was in some serious trouble.
However, when the officer told Pantoja to stop fishing and return to shore so he could inspect his cooler, Pantoja started throwing fish back into the water from his cooler as fast as he could.
“I ran to the defendant location and told him to stop throwing the fish as he continued to discard them,” the officer said.
There were at least ten fish on the bottom of the river and one very large Snook floating on top of the water, according to the officer.
Pantoja was told to take the Snook and put it back in his cooler, but he instead started bumping it so it would recover. The Snook eventually came to and swam off.
“I told him to stop and put it in the cooler. He did not, instead bumping it allowing it to come to,” said the officer.
After giving the officer an undersized Black Drum, Pantoja was arrested and taken to the Indian River County Jail on a charge of not allowing an officer of the state to inspect his boat and cooler.
“Defendant took all fish by castnet which is illegal for Snook as well as Snook season being closed,” according to the report.