It brings a whole new meaning to catch and release: A Charlotte County fisherman jumped in the water to help revive a massive bull shark he'd just released from his line.
Orion Wholean knew he had something special on his line as he fished off Gasparilla Island. But he never imagined a bite this big.
"It was definitely the biggest bull shark I've ever caught," he said Wednesday.
After a fierce 20-minute fight and a few snapshots, Wholean tried to release the 300-pound predator back to its turf.
"When I put it in the water, it was pretty exhausted. I saw it started to sink a little bit," Wholean said.
So he did the unthinkable: he decided to take a dip. Wholean jumped in the water and pushed the shark forward to force water through its gills.
His brazen method worked. The shark kicked back to life and Wholean swam away without a scratch.
"I know a lot about sharks and how they act and how the respond. That fish didn't want to hurt me. It just wanted to swim away safely," he said.
Wholean's fiance' is obviously a little concerned about him freestyling with the fish. Still, she says his action speaks volumes of a fisherman's respect for his catch.
"I'm not surprised he did it and he did it for all the right reasons," Olivia Clark said Wednesday.
It's a fish tale that Wholean says tops them all...the catch, and release, of a lifetime.
"You gotta take risks to see the exciting things in life, you know? And that was definitely one of them," Wholean said.
Wholean says he's been getting calls from all across the country about his swim. Since posting the video on Tuesday, it's gotten almost 390,000 views on YouTube.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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