The official rod-and-reel record for bull sharks is a 697 pound, 12 ounce bull caught off Kenya in 2001. On Sunday, shark expert Neil Hammerschlag from the University of Miami caught the largest bull shark ever recorded – 10+ feet long and weighing in at an estimated 800 to 1,000 pounds.
Bull sharks are one of the most aggressive species of sharks, and are ranked in the International Shark File just behind great white and tiger sharks in attacks on humans. Their numbers have been declining in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, due to pressures from pollution, loss of habitat, and overfishing.
Neil Hammerschlag has been running a shark survey project for the last three years off the Florida Keys, trolling for sharks then taking samples to chart their health before tagging and releasing them. He’s caught and tagged over 1,000 sharks in his career, but last weekend's bull was definitely a standout catch.
Bull sharks caught in South Florida waters are typically less than 100 pounds to around 300 pounds, and Hammerschlag says, “This is the biggest bull shark I’ve ever seen.” Finding a massive female like this one is a good sign for the researchers, as sharks are vital to the health of marine systems and the size of the shark reflects their breeding prowess.
After hooking the shark, Hammerschlag attached a small tag to her and nudged her back into the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a pretty epic catch and release! - via The Miami Herald