DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Some fishermen may say it’s beginner’s luck when they hear angler Shelby Wagner’s shark story. Wagner claimed the top prize for private and overall shark fishing in the 73rd annual Destin Fishing Rodeo for a 329.2-pound bull shark.
“I still didn’t believe how big it was going to be until we got it in the boat,” said Shelby Wagner.
Wagner tells WKRG News 5 she and two friends decided spur of the moment to go hunt down a shark on Oct. 15 after seeing a 226-pound bull weigh-in for the tournament.
“Every day after work in October go down and watch the weigh-in and get a beer and that type of thing, but this is the first year I have participated in it,” said Wagner.
The massive marine animal was caught about 30 miles off the Florida coast, marking the largest shark weighed in in more than 20 years.
“We got lucky because one of our friends, we had some friends who were actually out diving, and they spotted the shark that we ended up catching,” said Wagner.
Wagner considers herself new to saltwater fishing, but with Capt. Kyle Howard and his wife to help, the trio managed to wrangle in the bull shark in under an hour.
Some of the pictures below could be considered graphic to some readers:
“We kept the tail the head, or the jaws anyway and kept what we could. But the rest did kind of go back into the circle of life,” said Wagner.
The Destin Fishing Rodeo came to a close on Oct. 31 with an award ceremony being held Friday, Nov. 5. The tournament takes place on the docks outside AJ’s Oyster Bar every year. You can learn more and see ways to sign up for next year by clicking here. See the full list of this year’s winners here.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) says bull shark fishing is allowed in state and federal waters. The limit is one shark per person each day and a limit of two sharks in one vessel.
To see all of the shark fishing rules and regulations, click here.