PHOTOCOURTESY OF BRIAN IBASFALEAN
This 1,262-pound hammerhead shark caught off Boca
could be a world recprd and it is being stored
sun staff writer
CORTEZ It could be the biggest fish thats ever
been put on ice at the A.P. Bell Fish Co. a 14 1/2-foot,
1,262-pound hammerhead shark.
It could also be a new world sport fishing record, according
to the Florida-based International Game Fish Association
in Dania Beach.
Pending an examination of photographs and pieces of the
tackle, line, leader and hook used, the shark is expected
to break the current world record by 271 pounds, IGFA Conservation
Director Jason Schratwieser said.
Thats exactly what charter Captain Bucky Dennis of
Port Charlotte had in mind.
On May 23, about 300 yards off Boca Grande beach near the
pass, he was fishing for shark on his boat next to a friends
charter boat that was after tarpon, which attract sharks,
he said. The hammerhead and two bull sharks kept going for
the tarpon, so his friend did a donut around the sharks
to scare them off.
The hammerhead bit the motor on the charter boat, and Dennis
went into action.
"I was trying to break a record," he said. "She
took the bait and I hooked her. My buddy jumped on my boat
and drove, but I have a group of friends I helped with a
shark two weeks ago, and I called them. They came so he
could go back and finish his charter."
The shark towed Dennis boat 12 miles from Boca Grande
Pass. It took him five and a half hours to land her.
To keep the shark from going to waste, he donated it to
Mote Marine Laboratory, but Mote doesnt have a freezer
large enough to preserve it, so its being stored at
the Cortez fish house.
"Its the biggest one Ive ever seen caught,"
said Cortez fisherman Bryan Ibasfalean, who was at the fish
house when the shark was brought in. "But Ive
seen as big or bigger swimming."
Smaller than the great white shark caught by Cortezian Edgar
Green off Longboat Key in 1937 which Mote scientist
Robert Hueter estimates at 15 feet and 2,000 pounds, (locals
say it was between 18-24 feet) its called a
"Its dorsal fin is huge" and its hammer measures
more than three feet across, said Hueter, director of Mote's
Center for Shark Research, adding that the shark may have
been pregnant. "She was very rotund."
Hueter said that scientists prefer tagging and releasing
sharks to landing them, although the opportunity to study
such a large specimen is welcome.
"Thanks to this donation, we hope to be able to teach
even more people about the status of sharks and their importance
to the world's oceans, and how to protect and save these
animals," he said.
Meanwhile, Dennis waits for the verdict on his record.
"Its just recognition, really, but maybe there
would be some endorsements from the company that makes the
line," he said. "And I might get a few more shark