It was the quite the catch!
Scientist Neil Hammerschlag might need a bigger boat the next time he’s trolling the reefs near the Florida Keys. He spends a lot of time on the water, as most shark hunters do. But on May 27, he reeled in something bigger than he could chew.
“We didn’t know if we were pulling up a sunken boat, a monster shark, a school bus. We had no idea which it was,” Hammerschlag told OurAmazingPlanet.
Turns out it was a 1,000-pound bull shark.
“It’s one of the biggest bull sharks I’ve ever caught, and it’s the biggest bull shark I’ve ever tagged,” Hammerschlag said. Which says something, considering he’s tagged more than 1,000.
Hammerschlag is a shark researcher and assistant professor at the University of Miami. He spends every other weekend in southern Florida dragging baited, shark-safe lines behind a boat, hoping for a bite.
When he and his team are lucky enough to catch one, they label the shark with either a satellite or ID tag, take small samples of muscle and fin and a vial’s worth of blood, then send the shark back out into the deep blue.
“As soon as it came to the surface, it literally took my breath away, it was so big,” Hammerschlag told OurAmazingPlanet.
Turns out the shark was a female, which as with many other shark species, is typically larger than the male. But don’t be mistaken — She’s no “lady.” Hammerschlag says bull sharks have the most testosterone of any animal on the planet.
Once he regained his composure, Hammerschlag did indeed tag the shark. But get this, he ran out of satellite tags and had to settle for a more simple tag that doesn’t allow tracking. So no one has any idea where this huge shark is lurking right now.