1. Outdoors

Fishermen catch tarpon — but so does hammerhead shark

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Published Jun. 11, 2014

A group of men out fishing in a tarpon tournament encountered a tough competitor Sunday when they tried to reel in their catch to measure it: a giant hammerhead shark.

Rob Caragiulo and his friends were representing Team Caragiulo's Restaurant in the White Buffalo Tarpon Tournament to benefit an organization called Operation Second Chance, which helps veterans.

They were battling a 6- to 7-foot tarpon about 200 yards off the shore of Anna Maria Island when they saw the shadow of the shark underneath the boat.

So they let the line unspool and followed in the boat as the tarpon swam away.

When they got about three-quarters of a mile out, Caragiulo said they saw the shark heading for the fish.

He immediately pulled out his GoPro camera and dropped his hand in the water to capture the action. He had forgotten a pole for the camera, he said, so at one point the shark was about a foot from his hand.

Caragiulo said the sharks are very smart and savvy about waiting until the tarpon has become tired so that they can easily catch their prey.

As the video shows, the shark was all business in dispatching the tarpon that the group had been trying to bring in. But they were still able to get enough of the fish to the boat to get a measurement of its girth and take a sample.

Alas, there were heftier fish brought in, so the team didn't place in the tournament.

But, as Caragiulo noted, they still had "half a (fish) tale to tell."