SANIBEL, Fla. - A man who catches and releases sharks from the Florida coast tagged a massive tiger shark off the coast of Sanibel.
Elliot Sudal, an angler and licensed captain who researches sharks as a marine conservationist, was fishing off the coast of Boca Grande Sunday.
For 25 hours, he and his fishing buddy hadn't had a single bite in a spot he says is notorious for giant sharks, so they packed up and headed to Sanibel.
Sudal said in his post on Instagram that he was cleaning off on a sandbar when he decided to use his last bonita and within five minutes, he had a bite. "It was the heaviest, most consistently unstoppable run of my life, not even slowing down at full drag," Sudal said.
It took more than five hours to reel it in and finally he was able to tag it in the water near the sandbar and release it safely.
Sudal said it was a male tiger shark, 13 feet long and weighing about 1,100 pounds. "I tagged it, got a blood and fin sample, and swam it off into the pass where it took off like a champ," Sudal said. "Unreal experience, largest shark I’ve ever caught, or even heard of being landed here."
Sudal participates in the National Marine Fisheries Service Apex Predator Tagging Program with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which aims to learn more about sharks so their habitats can be protected.
He also blogs about fishing, and says, "Most people don't realize the abundance of large sharks that can be found within casting distance of the beach."