He may not have captured his fish but Bruce Huntley certainly got an incredible photo to document his ‘terrifying’ run-in with nature.
Huntley was out fishing in his rubber dinghy on Washington’s picturesque Lake Padden when a bald eagle with a 6ft wingspan swooped down and snatched a fish straight off his line.
The bird of prey came just 10ft away from Huntley’s inflatable boat to pick up his lunch a few weeks ago.
Huntley admitted to the Bellingham Herald that the experience of having such a powerful bird so close was ‘terrifying.’
‘He came out of the tree and scared the holy bejesus out of me,’ he said.
Huntley and his companion, Rick Warren, believe that the eagle has discovered that fishermen can provide easy prey and have seen the bird steal from others before.
After spotting the eagle’s cunning, Warren decided to take his camera with him the next time they went out on the lake.
Warren told the Herald that the bird watches them fishing and only swoops in if the fish are big enough.
He also reported that the bird seems to only carry out the mission when the water is calm and flat.
However the eagle, which nests near the lake with its mate, had never targeted Huntley or Warren before.
‘You never expect to get that close to an eagle, especially with his talons out,’ said Warren.
Describing himself as ‘in awe’, Huntley recalled the moment the eagle struck as ‘nature at its best.’
While the men are delighted with getting their photographs the incident was less fortunate for the fish, who Huntley would have released.