Bull shark takes Fox for a dance on the Reel Deal

Tina Harbuck

Mark Fox was dancing on the boat Thursday, but not to music. The man from St. Louis was dancing around trying to keep up with a 325-pound bull shark that was tugging on the other end of the line.

Fox hauled in an 8-foot-long shark while fishing with Capt. Steve Pixley on the Reel Deal.


The group aboard the 26-foot center-console boat was fishing about six miles off the beach and about done for the day when the big bull latched on to the whole bonito they were using for bait.

“He drug us about three-fourths of a mile from the spot where we hooked him,” Pixley said.

Needless to say, the shark took off.

“He did everything,” Fox said. “He danced us around the boat five or six times.”

Pixley said they almost lost the shark a couple of times under the boat.

Fox fought the shark for an hour and a half before they got it to the boat.

However, the shark was so massive, they couldn’t get it onto the boat. So they tied it off on the side of the Reel Deal and drug it in.

“I throw steel and brass around all day, but this thing wore me out,” Fox said.

“It was like picking up the front end of a Volkswagen,” he added.

Once they got back to the docks at East Pass Marina, it took about four guys to pull the shark onto the docks.

And it didn’t take long for the shark to draw a crowd.

Some were asking what the Missouri native’s plans were for the massive bull.

“It’s just like hunting. You don’t kill it unless you’re going to eat it. The meat is going home,” Fox said.

Not only was this Fox’s first shark, it was his first time to fish out of Destin.

“This was my first time seeing saltwater … but I’m ready to come back,” he said.