A Florida fisherman reeled in the biggest catch of his life this week: an eight-foot bull shark, caught off of Indian Shores Beach.
"I picked up the rod and she was there," said Jesse Wright, who works at Betts Fishing Center in Largo, as he flipped through pictures on cell phone.
Wright, 21, said he had gone out to the beach Monday hoping to catch a shark and at about 7:30 p.m. that's exactly what happened.
"It happened so quick that we didn't really react. We just got her in, take two or three photos as quick as possible and release her," he told FOX 13 Thursday, adding the process took about 30 minutes and all of his strength. "It just kills you. It drains you. I had to sit on the sand to pull it in."
There have been a flurry recent reports of fishermen catching sharks in Florida waters; last week a few sixth-grade students from Ohio caught a Mako in Sarasota, while another fisherman caught an 11-foot shark in the Gulf.
Eric Hovland, a shark expert at the Florida Aquarium, said this hardly means there are more sharks in the water. The numbers are actually dwindling.
"We pretty much hear about every shark that's over this big that gets landed in Florida waters, because it's exciting news," Hovland said, adding the stories increase this time of year because there are more people in the water. "It's good news to see sharks out in our waters because they are such an important part of our environment."
Hovland said Wright did exactly what he should: let the shark go minutes after catching it.
"He said it right, he brings them in fast, they get them to where they can see the animal, they release it safely back out into the water, walk it, make sure it's swimming, until it takes off on its own," he said.
Wright, meanwhile, said he already has his sights set on hauling in his next big catch.
"I want it to happen again. I want to go back out and do it and catch something bigger," he said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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