Hoping to escape the Memorial Day crowds earlier this summer, fishing guide Ryan Killoran of Florida Inshore Adventures took some friends out on his boat to a secluded sandbar near one of his favorite fishing spots on the Manatee River. They enjoyed a fun day of tubing, rafting and barbecuing while seeing almost no other boats on the summer kick-off holiday that’s typically one of the busiest water sports days of the year.
The outing wasn’t a total success, however. Among the guests was a 1-year-old girl with a pacifier, and at some point Killoran heard the two words that would send chills down any grizzled boat captain’s spine: Binky overboard! An extensive search turned up no sign of the wayward paci, and somehow—we don’t know exactly how—the boat party got through their outing without a titanic meltdown.
Fast forward seven weeks, to the middle of July, when Killoran was back in the vicinity with a boatload of anglers. “I was fishing near that area catching nice redfish,” the captain told the Bradenton Herald. Killoran said he normally releases all redfish, even those in the slot limits, unless his clients want to keep one, and on this day they did: a nice 26-inch upper slot redfish.
“We got back to the 59th street boat ramp, and I cut into that fish and noticed something,” Killoran told the newspaper. He immediately reached for his camera. “In the stomach there was something rubbery. It was a pacifier that looked almost brand new. I sent a picture to my buddy, and his wife and both of them separately said it was their daughter’s. But both also said ‘no way that is real.’”
It was real, all right. According to the article, Killoran is keeping the pacifier, which looks surprisingly unaffected by its journey through the fish’s belly. It’ll make a heck of a conversation piece—and maybe even a handy bit of redundant gear if he ever has to face down a binky emergency again.