Fishing & Boating

500-pound bull shark caught mile off Egmont Key

JOHN'S PASS -- Anthony Belmonte was captain on a private charter boat this week while he and the group were hunting for sharks.

Not long into the trip, they came across a 500-pound bull shark.

“As soon as it comes up, we knew it was something big -- very big,” said Belmonte, captain with Hubbard’s Marina.

Experts say the shark measured a whopping 10 feet. It was swimming about a mile off the coast of Egmont Key.

“That’s close to where people swim at Fort De Soto Park and all that," said Belmonte. "It’s not like it was way off shore.” Belmonte’s customers, all from Canada, wanted to keep the massive find. Usually, Belmonte said, they don’t like to catch and kill sharks.

But, if they’re in season, and the customer wants it, the customer is always right.

“We ended up hooking into it and fighting it for an hour and 40 minutes,” he said.

Once the group caught the bull shark, they had to drag it back to shore.

When they returned, a crowd gathered on the beach as they took pictures and measured the shark.

“I’ve never seen something that big, that close to shore. So it was pretty good,” said Belmonte.

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