Cast netter hauls in artificial arm off St. Simon Island pier

Morris News Service
Sam Newton caught this artificial arm in his cast net beneath the St. Simons Island pier.

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Fishermen often brag about catching one as long your arm.

Sam Newton caught the arm.

Newton, 66, was throwing his cast net off the St. Simons Island pier last week when he pulled up an artificial arm.

"It scared the heck out of me,'' he said. "Hell, I'm hoping the rest of the person ain't coming up."

The prosthesis was a forearm with a mechanical clasp on the end. It was crusted with barnacles and mud, and it had a resident: a stone crab living in the hollow. The big claws of stone crabs are especially prized, but Newton tossed it back with both of its claws instead of breaking one off.

"I didn't want that one when it come out of that arm,'' he said.

As for the rest of the person coming up, there's no chance of that. People who frequent the pier said it belonged to a man who got frustrated when the arm wasn't working right and tossed it over the side. And there it has lain for about eight years through without getting snagged by the thousands of baited hooks tossed over through the years and through a lot of storm tides.

Newton and others had a lot of opportunity to snag it. The pier is a favorite spot of fishermen, crabbers and cast netters. In fact, Newton was cleaning a basket of mullet Friday night while his daughter was smoking some others at home.

Newton, who is retired from Hercules Inc., said he's going to keep it a while until all his grandchildren get a look at it. He's also considering contacting the manufacturer to see if it has in interest in the prosthesis.

Meanwhile, it looks pretty much as it did when Newton hauled it up in his net.

"I want it to look like it came out of the water,'' he said.

terry.dickson@jacksonville.com (912) 264-0405

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