If you're going fishing, typically you're hoping to pull in a big one! That's what a group in this weekend's Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo set out to do. Instead, they reeled in a piece of history.
Derek Williams and his son-in-law Matthew Miller were calling it quits on day two of the fishing rodeo on Dauphin Island. When Miller started bringing in his anchor, it was much heavier than usual.
"It was stuck. It wouldn't even come off and then Brandon got there to help me and we gave it a little extra tug. I felt it when it broke loose and I noticed it still had some extra weight on it. I was pulling on it and said golly this thing must be stuck in a net or something and sure enough when it come up, all I could see was this big old rod right here coming up," Miller said.
Attached to their anchor was another anchor, one that looked much older.
"Been ecstatic about it really it's the coolest thing I've ever pulled out of the water 100-year-old anchor maybe," Miller said.
Williams added, "I'm happy to find it. It's just part of history. There's no telling how much is in Mobile Bay."
The two said they found the anchor just off of the point, right across from Fort Gaines. So Williams and Miller decided to take the artifact back to Fort Gaines. Like a 19th century anchor in the middle of the historic site, the one Williams and Miller found is shaped the same way.
"I would say probably from a Civil War ship maybe before that. I think about 1860," Williams said.
In the 29 years Ralph Oalmann has volunteered at Fort Gaines, he's only seen 5 historical pieces this big pulled from the water.
Oalmann said, "There's no doubt it's older because it's wrought iron and there hasn't been a mass produced metal for quite a while, so it's off of an older boat it's just hard to say which one and being that there's so many shipwrecks in the area well I could remain a mystery for a long time to come."
For now, the anchor will be put on display inside the museum at Fort Gaines. Williams said he hopes eventually someone will find out if the anchor was attached to a sunken boat.
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