1,100 lb. Hammerhead Shark Caught!


Outdoor Life Online Editor

When you're a 13-foot 8-inch 1,100-pound hammerhead shark, everything probably starts to look like a potential meal. That was certainly the case when a monster hammerhead took a sheepshead that Captain Greg Bogdan and Fritz Van der Grift tossed into the water off the coast of Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday March 5. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Van der Grift was fishing with his dad, Paul, friend, Minot Amory, and charter captain Greg Bogdan on Bogdan's boat "Permitted." They started out fishing for sheepshead and permit just off the coast but decided to head north to try their luck with thousands of migrating spinner sharks. They had no luck with the spinners, but they did notice a massive hammerhead herding the other sharks. "After seeing it, you could tell it was unmistakably 3 to 4 times bigger than the spinners," Van der Grift said. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Bogdan decided to toss a sheepshead to the monster, and the hammerhead quickly devoured it. He then attached double-hooked another sheepshead- one in the head, one in the tail- and tossed it to the leviathan. After a few seconds the shark started to circle, and on its 3rd or 4th time around, it took the bait. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Van der Grift took the rod from Bogdan and began his long struggle. "No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't reel in at all for the first five minutes," he said. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Bogdan followed the shark in his boat, eventually traveling over a mile offshore from where they started. The tug-of-war lasted an hour and a half. A few times, Van der Grift was able to reel in all the way to the leader, but then the shark would dive back down. "It was disheartening," Van der Grift said. Outdoor Life Online Editor
After about 90 minutes, his quarry began to slow and come to the surface; it was hooked in its mouth and in its side. Van der Grift and Bogdan intended only to catch and release the shark, but it died during the battle. They tried to revive it for 45 minutes, but to no avail. It took the duo about an hour to drag the hammerhead back to shore, where they were greeted by applauding bystanders. "It was almost like a movie, like <strong>Jaws</strong>," Van der Grift said of their reception. Outdoor Life Online Editor
It took more than the four men in the boat to haul the monster ashore, and when they finally did, it was too big for the available scale. The scale weighed the shark at 1,038 pounds before it broke; Bogdan estimated it to weigh about 1,100 pounds. It was 13-feet, 8-inches long. Because of its size, scientists assumed it must have been pregnant, but on further inspection they discovered it was not- it was simply a huge fish. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Since he never intended to keep the hammerhead in the first place, Van der Grift readily donated much of his prize to scientists. "I wanted to catch and release it, but it died. I didn't want it to go to waste, and I wanted some good to come from it," he said. A biologist from Florida Atlantic University came to examine the shark, and some of its parts were sent to San Diego for further study. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Van der Grift has never caught anything close to this big before, and while he was excited, he also shared the credit: "I just want to say that Captain Bogdan deserves the credit. I just reeled." Outdoor Life Online Editor
Regardless, Bogdan, Van der Grift and crew may have a chance to repeat their feat. Bogdan knows of another hammerhead shark he estimates to be at least a few feet longer than the one reeled in on Wednesday- in fact, that was hammerhead he thought they had caught. They plan to pursue the bigger beast in a few weeks- and to release it. Outdoor Life Online Editor
Until then, Van der Grift will have the head of his recent catch mounted. "I couldn't mount the entire shark," he said. "I couldn't possibly find a place for it." Click 'next' for more photos! Outdoor Life Online Editor

A Florida fisherman caught this GINORMOUS shark off of Singer Island in Palm Beach County.