ISLAMORADA, FLA. (WSVN) - Two men on a fishing boat came to the rescue of three pelicans that got tangled up in fishing line off the Florida Keys.

The sea save was not the way Ted Wilson and Dr. Larry Dalton were hoping to kick off their fishing trip off Islamorada the day after Christmas.

“It was a real mess,” said Dalton.

“Birds of a feather flock together, so the next thing you know, we’ve got two or three birds caught in the same fishing line,” said Wilson.

Wilson, a fishing guide captain, was steering the boat when he spotted three pelicans about five minutes from the marina.

“Not only were they all tangled in a bunch of fishing line, but the fishing line on top of that was tangled on top of a stone crab trap buoy,” he said.

The buoy added an extra 30 or so pounds, making it impossible for the birds to free themselves.

Wilson said he’s rescued a number of animals over the years, but this was clearly a job for two people. It didn’t hurt that Dalton, his partner for this impromptu pelican rescue, is an interventional pain physician and knows his way around a knife.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that these pelicans would have died if we had not been able to get over there and untangle them,” said Dalton.

Wilson said he held the birds by the bills while Dalton removed the fishing line.

Two of the birds had hooks, which the two friends carefully removed. Moments later, all three pelicans were free.

After making the save, Wilson and Dalton squeezed in a half hour of fishing.

“We caught a great bonefish, too,” said Dalton.

“The fishing karma gods were on our side,” said Wilson.

Wilson, who has been a fishing guide for 25 years, shared a word of advice.

“One of the biggest things that we preach is get all your fishing line out of the water, because it just can be so detrimental to the environment and to all the animals,” he said.

Both men said they think the pelicans will survive.

Despite their good karma, they released the fish as well.

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