The discussion about red drum in another thread
reminded me about something that happened a dozen or so years ago.
A group of us were night fishing on the outer banks, around the end of May 1998 or 1999. Mostly it was an excuse to have a bonfire and drink beer, but we had poles in the water. My friend lives in NC and fishes there a lot, and he wanted to go for a red drum. He cast pretty far out in the surf and stuck it in a sand spike, a few other rods were in but not as deep. Everyone was standing around talking when someone said "hey, what happened to that pole?" Sure enough, one was missing from a spike and was nowhere to be seen. Someone grabbed one of the other rods and ran up the beach, it was desperation but he snagged something.
That rod was passed off to the most experienced fisherman in the group, the guy from NC. He felt something on the other end and teased it in over the course of 20-30 minutes. By then, we could see something in the surf, and it looked like a fishing pole. He passed the first one off to someone else and went and got the other pole out of the surf. He could feel the fish on the other end. He tried to reel it in, but found that the tackle from the other pole was snagged in the reel of the pole with the fish on it. What to do?
He walked back and forth on the beach, keeping tension on the line. Someone found some nail clippers, and with a flashlight trained on the reel, she slowly clipped the tackle from the other rod out of the reel while he walked back and forth on the beach. Eventually she cleared it so he could start reeling it in. Another 20 minutes or so later, and he'd landed a ~40 lb red drum. We took a quick picture and set it loose in the surf.