A group of anglers have caught and killed a 500-pound-bull shark off the Gulf Coast of Florida, just a mile from the shore of a popular beach.
Anthony Belmonte was leading a private charter cruise earlier this week with a group of Canadian fishermen when they encountered the massive bull shark, according to Bay News 9. A captain with Hubbard’s Marina, Belmonte noted that as soon as the shark surfaced, the group knew they had a big fish on their hands.
Coming up on East Texas News at 4, a 500 pound bull shark was caught near the Florida coast: http://t.co/EnigwnUaE3 pic.twitter.com/4hPGenk88W
— KLTV 7 (@KLTV7) June 18, 2015
Though the charter usually shies away from catching and killing sharks, the group that had rented the boat wanted to attempt to take the bull shark. Since the shark was legally in season, however, Belmonte reluctantly acquiesced. Hooking into the predator, the anglers fought the bull shark for an hour and 40 minutes before finally besting it. Once they had succeeded in catching the shark, the group then had to tow it back to port.
— WINK News (@winknews) June 18, 2015
Measuring the animal after it was on land, the group found that the shark was an imposing 10 feet long. A crowd gathered on the beach to observe their catch, which was surprisingly taken not far from shore. Bull sharks have been known to approach beaches and enter shallow water, and the animal that Belmonte and his charter caught was hooked just a mile from Egmont Key, according to Wink News.
“That’s close to where people swim at Fort De Soto and all that,” Belmonte observed. “Never saw something that big, that close to shore. So it was pretty good.”
— Mary Smith (@smitharyy) June 17, 2015
The catch comes just a few days after a series of attacks rocked the Atlantic coast, the Inquisitr previously reported. Over the weekend, both a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy were attacked by a shark along the same beach in North Carolina. While other notable shark incidents happened in the weeks before and since (both in the Carolinas and in Florida), those accidents resulted in only minor injuries. Though the species responsible has not been identified, researchers have pointed to the depth of water and aggressive nature of the North Carolina attacks as evidence that a bull shark could have been involved.
Following their catch off Florida’s Gulf Coast, Belmonte noted that meat from the bull shark was donated to a local shelter.
[Photo by Anthony Belmonte via Bay News 9]