- Capt. Andrew Herzog
Grab a Tiger By Its Tail
As a fishermen you hear a lot of "fish tales" exaggerated sizes and species. An unbelievable battle of strength and tenacity. Once in awhile you actually get to live them. Its a BIG ocean and you never know what will be on the end of your line. This week Ted & Sheila joined us for a shark fishing trip. With the tarpon filling the passes and spilling out all over, sharks are a fun catch this time of year. We set up on a local wreck a few miles off the beach. We set down some frozen mullet, about 10 minutes in Sheila was hooked up, she caught a 6 foot blacktip shark she tagged and named "Pearl" for Grey Fishtag Research. After her sharks release we set back up on the wreck. Almost right away our bait was eaten again, reeling it to the surface it didn't feel heavy. We started to see color and it looked like a shark, but it kept growing in size before coming up to the surface and shocking us all. Huge tiger shark, sticks its nose out of the water and spits out the bait. It then puts on a show as we struggle to gain our composure and get another bait on the line. At one point it bit the trolling motor leaving a few scares. It swims off into the distance.
Everyone on board is thrilled to have seen this shark. Its not every day you see a 800-1000 lb shark swimming by. Unfortunately no one captured video of picture of the moment, unless we could hook it again it was just another fish tale. I made some new leaders and put out another bait. This time it was quiet, our bait sat on the bottom for about 30 min before it was picked up again. When the reel went off it was slow and steady, setting hook did not even phase this fish. Before we knew it Ted was down to braid on the reel. Was this the same fish we hooked and missed earlier?!
We started to chase the fish so Ted could gain line, the fish was staying near the surface. We caught up to it and saw it was a tiger shark, about the same size as the one we ran into earlier. What a fight, over an hour battling this fish. As much line as he would gain the fish would take out. Towing the boat about two miles until I had the chance to leader the fish.
Ted caught a 12+ male tiger shark. A fish of a lifetime and an incredible "fish tale" to tell for years to come. We attempted to tag the catch but were unsuccessful due to none of the tools on board being able to penetrate its skin. An adult male tiger shark can grow 11–14 feet. Although we cant be sure, data from tagging suggests live span of tiger sharks in the wild is believed to be around 27 years, although some have lived to 50 years. They are currently listed as near threatened and protected in Florida state waters.
Sharks of this size are kept IN the water for its safety and ours. After a few quick photos we released the shark, it was still so lively it took 3 people to remove the tail rope. Teds fish tale will turn into a legend as it told to fishermen for years to come. Congratulations to him on his incredible catch. Video of his catch coming soon.