Man reels in massive tiger shark at Florida beach, releases it back into water: 'It was a great experience'

Stream FOX 35 News 

A Florida man caught the catch of a lifetime when he reeled in a massive tiger shark at Jacksonville Beach over the weekend.

Fisherman Owen Prior is no stranger to catching sharks. He heads First Coast Surf Fishing, where he leads fishing enthusiasts in seeking out some of Florida's largest and most flavorful coastal fish.

The 12-foot tiger shark, however, was the largest shark he has ever snagged in Jacksonville. 

"I’ve caught hundreds of sharks up to a 14’ hammerhead, but that was my personal best tiger shark," he said. "I got the hook out by hand and released the shark with tons of energy in less than two minutes."


A 12-foot tiger shark was captured and released at Jacksonville Beach over the weekend. (Credit: Owen Prior)

Prior said he caught the tiger shark when he was out on the water at 4 a.m. on Mother's Day. He said it took about 20 to 25 minutes to reel it in and release it. 

Catching the large shark is an adventure he'll likely never forget.

"All in all, it was a great experience having the ability to feel the power of a large shark like that and even better being able to safely remove the hook and watch her swim away back into the abyss with a free meal," Prior said.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), tiger sharks can grow to be 15 to 18 feet in length and weigh approximately 2,000 pounds. They are common throughout Florida and can be found in many habitats, including the open ocean, shallow bays and river mouths. 

In Florida state waters, they are prohibited from commercial or recreational harvest.