Shark is a picture perfect opportunity

Tom Stemm is all smiles once he gets to pose for a photo with his 150-pound bull shark he caught Wednesday aboard the Mary Lou.

Before Tom Stemm had a chance to have his photo made with his bull shark, at least a half dozen folks just passing by stopped to pose for a photo with the grey slob laid up on the boardwalk behind the Mary Lou.

"It felt like it weighed about 1,000 pounds," said Stemm of St. Louis, Mo., who hauled in the shark Wednesday while fishing with Capt. Craig Mann on the Mary Lou.

"I thought it was a grouper at first, but then I got it to the surface and saw what it was," Stemm said.

Capt. Mann said they were fishing about 13 miles out and the shark was the last fish on the last stop of the day.

"This guy was the last bite," Mann said looking at the massive grey shark on the docks. He said they hooked it on a slip-lead rig with a circle hook and cut Boston mackerel.

"He hooked him perfect," Mann said, noting it took about 30 minutes to get him in the boat. "It made about eight or 10 runs.”

"I thought he was going to pull the pole out of my hand," Stemm said of the 150-pound bull.

After about 20 minutes into the fight, Stemm said, "I was convinced — he's either coming on board or I'm going in with it. I wasn't giving up the rod."

Stemm was able to get the shark close enough to the boat for Mann and crew to gaff the shark and drag it aboard.

Because they didn't have a gun on board, Mann said they cut the shark right behind the head, at the spinal cord, which basically disables a shark.

This was Stemm's fourth time to fish out of Destin and by far the biggest fish he's ever caught.

Prior to Wednesday the largest fish on his catch-list was an amberjack or grouper.

However, his only hook-up of the day, proved to be the best and biggest.

"Those mingo are just snacks for that thing," Stemm said.

Stemm and his buddies from Missouri plan on eating the shark.