Thursday, May 25, 2006


Florida angler may have reeled in record 1,280-pound hammerhead shark

Associated Press
Posted May 25 2006, 4:30 PM EDT

BOCA GRANDE -- Fishing Capt. Bucky Dennis has been trying to catch a record hammerhead shark for 10 years. He may have finally succeeded.

On Tuesday, he reeled in a monstrous 1,280-pounder that ate a 25-pound stingray for bait at Boca Grande Pass near Fort Myers. That would beat by nearly 300 pounds the current all-tackle world record for a hammerhead shark.

Dennis, who was using 130-pound test line, and three friends fought the 14 1/2 foot shark for five hours and it dragged his boat about 12 miles offshore before they got it aboard.

"It's fun hooking them, but if you get too close, they will bite," Dennis said. "And whatever they bite, they will bite off."

The current all-tackle world record hammerhead is 991 pounds, caught May 30, 1982, by Allen Ogle of Punta Gorda, according to the International Game Fish Association. The organization is reviewing the latest catch to determine if it qualifies as the new record, a process that will take about 60 days.

The Port Charlotte fishing captain donated the big fish to the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, which plans to have it mounted and displayed. Center director Robert Hueter said researchers prefer that people tag and release large sharks because they help sustain the species.

"But we are grateful that this animal has been donated to science. It will help us understand more about these animals," Hueter said.

The largest shark ever hooked was a 2,664-pound Great White caught off the southern coast of Australia in 1959.

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