It took a year, but Case Thompson finally got his shark.
Last year, 17-year-old Thompson of Nashville, Tennessee, visited Destin with family in hopes of landing a big shark.
They didn’t get a shark, but he did hook a Goliath grouper while fishing with Capt. Ben O’Connor on the 100 Proof that weighed about 300 pounds.
Because the Goliath grouper is a protected species, they had to release it.
Thompson had the grouper on line for a quite a while, but it was nothing like the battle he would have this week.
Aboard the 100 Proof on Monday, Thompson and family had pulled in red snapper, king mackerel, cobia and triggerfish, but no shark — at least not until the last few minutes of their scheduled trip.
“Capt. Ben had said he wasn’t going to go in until we got a shark or it got dark,” Thompson said.
Time was running out when about a 4-foot shark swam right up to the boat.
“We were right in the middle of changing our shark bait out,” O’Connor said.
As the shark started to swim away, First Mate Caleb Brown tossed a bait right in front of the shark but it spooked it and it swam away.
“I thought we were finished, then the drag on our shark rod started screaming,” O’Connor said.
“It was quite a fight,” Thompson added.
Thompson said the shark was down pretty deep and stayed at the bottom for most of the fight.
After reeling and tugging, he finally got it near the surface.
“He was shaking his head when he got closer to the top,” Thompson said.
At one point in the fight, with him trying to keep the line tight, the shark saw the boat and took off running.
After an hour-and-a-half of playing tug of war with the shark, they got it on board.
“It was a lot harder than I expected," Thompson said.
“It felt like I was pulling up a big rock … then when he started running it was even harder. I’m still tired,” Thompson added two days after the trip.
It was after 8:30 p.m. when they got back to the docks. The scales were closed but they estimated that the 85-inch bull shark weighed about 300 to 320 pounds.
“It was a big one,” Thompson said.
Although he was glad he finally got his shark he doesn't know if he’ll go for No. 2.
“Not sure I’ll do it again … it was pretty rough,” Thompson said.