A charter fishing company and its clients were awestruck after they caught a rare, 13-foot hammerhead shark during a trip off the coast of the Florida Panhandle. The company claimed the “monster” was the biggest shark it had reeled in.
The incredible catch was caught on camera before the shark was safely released back into the water.
Jack Moran, co-owner of Navarre Beach Shark Fishing (NBSF), told The Epoch Times that Kerry Gulliksen and Tanner Piehl were running the charter that caught the rare beast. The group was out fishing from the shoreline between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. on July 31.
Moran was incredulous the first time he saw the hammerhead. “[I] didn’t want to get ahead of myself when I first saw it by making any claims about size or species,” he said. “Tanner was just shocked, because neither of us had seen one that big.”
Clients didn’t expect to catch something of that size and thus were “super excited,” said Moran, adding that hammerheads ranging between 8 and 9 feet in length are more common off the Florida Panhandle; but a hammerhead over 12 feet long is “rare.”
GoPro footage shared on YouTube shows the hammerhead struggling against the fishing line, which encouraged the crew to reel it in quickly and keep it in the water to ensure an easy release. They also cut the hook from its mouth.
“We got it released within a minute,” said Moran.
Taking to the YouTube comments section to clarify Gulliksen and Piehl’s decision, Moran explained, “with hammerheads, they will literally fight to the death, that’s why we cut the hook for the quickest release possible.”
Posting a still from the crew’s footage on Facebook to celebrate their catch, Moran captioned, “We landed the biggest shark in NBSF thus far … Kerry Gulliksen and Tanner Piehl did a great job dehooking and releasing this monster.”
Given the inexhaustible fighting power of the hammerhead shark, Moran told The Epoch Times that he advises all fishing crews to follow the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) rules and regulations for dealing with this species.
“It is key to use heavy tackle with a lot of drag to get the shark in as quickly as possible—under 15 minutes—cut the hook out, and release,” he said. “No time for pictures. That’s why we record our trips with GoPros to take stills from the video.”
Watch the nail-biting footage below:
(Courtesy of Navarre Beach Shark Fishing)