Jaws versus bare hands - Guy grabs shark by the tail
No hook, no line, no sinker — no lie.
Using just their bare hands, Cody Harlan, Jonathan Cook and Robert Trutt hauled in a 277.7-pound bull shark Thursday morning.
"It was stupid, but a good memory," said Cook recounting the details of how they got the shark to the beach. "Leave it to three rednecks."
Cody and Robert of Fort Walton Beach along with Jonathan of Mary Esther hit Princess Beach on Okaloosa Island Thursday morning about 7 in search of pompano.
"I had a 750 Penn and an 850 Penn with 20-pound test," Cody said.
However, the three never wet a line.
Once they hit the beach, "We saw what looked like a piece of driftwood in the water," Robert said.
But then they saw it was moving in the waves.
"We kept seeing a fin," Jonathan said, thinking it might be a dolphin.
"But then it kept rolling and rolling," Robert said.
"We saw him belly up," Jonathan said.
At that point, they knew it was a shark but they thought it was dead.
"I wanted it for its teeth," Cody said.
Cody threw at it with his pompano rig trying to snag it, so he could pull it on in.
When his efforts proved useless, "We sent that bait out there," Jonathan said, pointing at Cody.
Cody ventured out into the water, about chest deep with waves rolling in.
"I got close enough to grab it by the tail," Cody said.
The shark never really made a move, and Cody started pulling it back to shore.
When Cody got the shark close enough, about knee deep, Robert and Jonathan stepped in to help drag it to the shore.
Once they got the colossal bull shark about five-feet on land, it lay still for a moment, but then started to move.
"It started opening its mouth like it was gulping for air and moving its tail," Robert said.
" 'This thing is not dead,' " Jonathan yelled. "We realized we had bit off more than we could chew."
Jonathan said there were two guys down the beach pompano fishing that started looking at them like they were crazy.
Not knowing for sure if it was legal to take the shark, they rang up Florida Fish and Wildlife, and "We were told anything over 54 inches is fair game," Jonathan said.
"I got my Nike bat out of the truck and knocked her out," Jonathan said.
At some point, they discovered a roughly 40-pound Jack Crevalle chunk lodged in the shark's maw. The guys theorize that the shark may have been choking on the fish.
Once the shark was dead, it took the guys about an hour and a half to pull it from the beach to the truck.
They brought it to HarborWalk Marina to weigh it, and while it was hanging on the scales it drew quite the crowd ... and lots of questions.
The shark measured 105 inches long and they did it all with, "no hook, line or sinker," Robert said.
After several photos, the guys loaded the shark back into the truck.
Next stop for the shark? "Cut the head off, steak it up, soak in buttermilk and throw it on the grill," Jonathan said.
As for lessons learned, Cody says you should never turn your back on a shark.
"I feel like an idiot now," Cody said. "He wasn't dead."
"The only thing that saved us was it had a fish in its mouth," Robert said.
"Otherwise we could have been its dinner," Jonathan said.