South Carolina Fisherman Hooks a ‘Gosh Darn’ iPhone, Finds Owner with One Lucky Clue

Fisherman Finds iPhone Credit: WMBF News
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Anecdotes of fishermen catching everything except fish have been a meme since before the word “meme” even existed, but as is often the case, truth can be stranger than fiction. One angler found this out recently when his line came up not with a fish on the other end, but an iPhone instead.

While we’ve heard of people deliberately fishing for lost iPhones, this wasn’t the catch that Jason Robinson of Horry County, South Carolina was expecting when he went out early Sunday morning for a peaceful day of brim fishing.

As reported by Myrtle Beach’s WMBF News, Robinson headed out to the nearby Waccamaw River before his family was even up in the hopes of catching some brim and a few bass in the Lee’s Landing area.

After reeling in a few smaller ones, Robinson got what seemed to be a particularly good bite, and began to reel it in, thinking he’d gotten a live one. When he pulled it up, however, he was surprised to find that it wasn’t a regular denizen of the local river at all — instead he’d caught someone’s lost iPhone.

It was a gosh darn iPhone.

Jason Robinson

Since iPhones aren’t exactly the kind of fish you catch and release, and Robinson wasn’t one to litter, he decided to take a picture of his catch to show his wife, and then just left it in his boat until he returned to shore.

The iPhone, which wasn’t identified in the news report, but appears from the photos to be either an iPhone X or iPhone XS, was enclosed in a bumper case with a clear back. After cleaning the mud off, Robinson noticed a photo behind the transparent casing of a young woman carrying a young man in her arms as she stood on a boardwalk.

With that clue in hand, Robinson decided to take to social media to attempt to track down the original owner, and it only took about five minutes of posting on Facebook before the woman in the photo had been identified as Riley Johnson.

I was always told to do the right thing, no matter what it is, no matter what’s going on in life, so at the end of the day you know you did what you could to make life better for someone else. It made that girl happy as could be.

Jason Robinson

It turns out that Johnson’s husband, Trinidy, had lost his iPhone on a fishing trip with some friends and family last Thanksgiving — eight months earlier — and it had been missing ever since. In an even more interesting twist, Robinson found their photo the day after Trinidy’s birthday.

Since Johnson often works away from home, he keeps the photo from the year the couple started dating in his iPhone case, and while the photo was naturally a bit water-damaged, Johnson said she actually liked the look, which she described as “a little vintage,” and said they’d probably frame it.

The picture looks a little vintage, we’ll probably frame it.

Riley Johnson

Unfortunately, the article doesn’t say whether the iPhone survived its eight-month dunk. While we’ve heard stories of recent iPhone models lasting months underwater, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 have an IP68 water rating, while the iPhone XS and iPhone X were only rated iP67. Since seals wear out over time, older iPhones will also naturally be less water-resistant as they age.

Even if the iPhone didn’t turn on, however, the photo inside the iPhone case was enough to reunite it with its original owner, thanks to a Good Samaritan who was willing to put in a bit of effort. While features like Find My iPhone and Lost Mode are great, sometimes it’s the simplest, low-tech solutions that still work the best.

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