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‘Wow. That thing is gigantic!’ Florida fisherman catches a giant tiger shark

Florida fisherman catches a giant tiger shark

A massive tiger shark was caught off the waters of Captiva, Florida, on Sunday. After tagging the 13-foot long beast, local fisherman Elliot Sudal released it shortly after being caught.
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A massive tiger shark was caught off the waters of Captiva, Florida, on Sunday. After tagging the 13-foot long beast, local fisherman Elliot Sudal released it shortly after being caught.

Fisherman Elliot Sudal was almost about to head home after many fruitless hours off Captiva Island.

The decision to wait a little bit longer proved prudent.

Sudal explains in an Instagram post that he and a pal were at Boca Grande pass, “a spot notorious for giant sharks,” because it’s loaded with tarpon on which they feed.

“I had one Bonita [fish bait] left that had already been soaking for 12 hours, figured what the heck why not and floated it off by the pass. Five minutes later, it gets smoked,” he wrote. “It was the heaviest, most consistently unstoppable run of my life, not even slowing down at full drag.”

On the other end of the line: a male tiger shark.

A big one.

At 13 feet, two inches long with a girth measurement of 81 inches, the beast was almost as big as his boat. He estimates that it weighed about 1,100 pounds.

“I’ve never dealt with a shark this size,” admitted Sudal, also a shark researcher who lectures on fishing and conservation.

The outdoorsman tagged the fish, got a blood and fin sample, and swam it off into the pass, “where it took off like a champ.” (Tiger sharks are protected in Florida.)

Many commenting were amazed by his picture, which showed its mammoth size.

“Wow. That thing is gigantic!”

“Holy guacamole.”

“Look at that thing!”

Sudal was well aware of how impressive — and dangerous — the catch and release was on Sunday.

“I have so much respect for how strong these animals are,” he told the Miami Herald. “I was next level exhausted after it was over.”

Was he afraid?

“I understand it’s an inherently dangerous situation, dealing with a tiger shark so close,” he said. “But honestly, I would be more scared of a little three foot blacktip that’s quicker. Something as big as this...not as much. You just stay clear and hope for the best.”

A large great white shark took a few bites from a Florida Keys fisherman’s chum bag this week. Great whites do not frequent the Keys, nor do they typically hang out off the South Florida island chain, but they are known to pass by.

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