Teens Catch Great White Shark off Fort Lauderdale Coast

Wednesday, 10 Apr 2013 02:21 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A group of teenagers on a fishing trip off Fort Lauderdale got a big surprise Tuesday when they hooked a 12-foot, 1,000-pound great white shark.

The four boys, baseball players from Tallahassee Community College, and the crew of Hooked Up all took turns battling the massive shark for about two hours. At first, they figured it was a bull shark, as great whites are rare in South Florida waters.

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"No one knew what it was until we got it to the boat," Capt. Taco Perez, who owns the Fort Lauderdale charter boat, told the Sun Sentinel. "When we got the leader we were like what the hell… this is too big to be a bull shark. We were as surprised as anybody."

The teens — Harry Andro, Josh Shailer, and Jared and Tanner Elliott — and one of the teen's mother and father used a Penn International 80 fishing reel to try and lure the shark toward the boat.

During the struggle, the hook slipped out of the shark's mouth and lodged in one of its pectoral fins.

"We ended up just cutting him loose," Capt. Paul Paolucci told ABCNews.com. "Nobody wanted to stick their hand down there."

Perez said the shark was released in good shape. Though the team had a productive day, having already caught a sailfish, some dolphin, and two decent-sized kingfish, the shark was the highlight.

"I've been fishing here since 1969 and [Capt.] Greg [McCauley] and I saw one three years ago," Perez told the Sentinel. "It's so darn uncommon. We're pretty excited about it."

On average, there are just over 100 shark attacks on humans annually; in comparison, as many as 100 million sharks are killed by people each year, reported Mother Jones. In 2011, there were 17 reported fatalities stemming from 118 shark attacks worldwide.

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