FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A South Florida charter crew is getting national attention for what they reeled in Tuesday morning: A great white shark.
“I’ve never won the lottery. This is my first lucky thing to ever happen to me,” said Captain Taco Perez, who owns the 45-foot charter boat ‘Hooked Up.’
When the crew realized they had hooked a shark while kite fishing off Fort Lauderdale, they thought it was a bull shark. But an hour and a half into reeling it in, that’s when it hit them.
“We thought, ‘Wait a minute, this is too damn big to be a bull shark,’” Perez said.
Perez said five teenagers who play baseball at Tallahassee Community College were with Capt. Paul Paolucci, 38, on the 6-hour fishing trip. The students were acting as anglers when the big catch happened.
“It came from underneath, Perez said. “It happened so fast.”
After about two hours of work, the crew decided to snap some photos and take video.
“We didn’t want to break any laws and we didn’t want to hurt the fish,” Perez said. “We released the fish after taking a quick couple of photos.”
By using marks on the side of the boat, Perez said the great white measured 13 feet long and was about 1,000 pounds.
Perez added that the shark was caught only a mile and a quarter away from the beach.
“We’ve had massive schools of bluefish coming from up north, which is what white sharks eat,” Perez said.
But unlike most fish stories, Perez is playing this catch down.
He said the shark, by his standards, wasn’t that big.
“This one was average, even though this was the biggest one we’ve ever seen,” he said. “We were lucky. We’re pretty good at what we do.”