DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — A big scene at the docks Monday when a teenager brought in a 450-pound Mako shark caught off the Florida coast.
16-year-old Thomas Thompson says he was about 200 yards out from Navarre Beach on April 5 hunting Cobia when the shark came up to their boat with a half-eaten tarpon.
Thomas says the apex predator seemed to be showing off the feed for half an hour while circling the boat.
“We thought it would be scared or something, it was weird. It was just trying to show off to us. It was a really cool sight to see something I’ve never experience before and about 30 minutes in we decided we’d try and catch it.”Thomas Thompson, @Cajun_kid
It took a few casts before Thomas had the shark on the line. The shark was hooked around 1 p.m.
“I fought it for about an hour, and that is when we knew it was the real deal, we were in for a long fight.”Thomas Thompson, @Cajun_kid
That battle lasted almost two and a half hours and required assistance from a second boat to bring it in.
“It was pretty crazy, we definitely were not expected that.”Thomas Thompson, @Cajun_kid
The shark weighed in at 451 pounds and measured 105 inches long. Along with the meat, Thomas took home a large tarpon scale found in the shark’s mouth.
Thomas is a High School junior from Houma, La., and has been deep-sea fishing in Destin since he was 12.
The large Mako shark is the biggest catch to date for the young angler, who says his next goal is to go after a big Marlin.
Why kill the Shark?
After a discussion, the fishermen on board with Emerald Coast Outfitters decided the giant shark could directly affect the tarpon population, and with its sheer size could feed a lot of people.
Thomas says they took home more than 200 pounds of shark meat from this one catch, capable of feeding more than 100 people.
Thomas added that the shark, while originally having a half-eaten tarpon for its lunch, also had more tarpon in its stomach.
For more information about Emerald Coast Outfitters and the crew Thomas was fishing with, click here.
Click here to follow Thomas, the “Cajun Kid,” on Instagram.