Sharkin' time and more!

OL Senior Editor Brian Lynn and I are at famed Boca Grande pass on Florida’s west coast for the annual food chain frolics: Huge schools of tarpon come to nosh on crabs and giant sharks come to eat on the ‘poons non-stop through June and into early July.

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Tomorrow we go out with Capt. Bucky Dennis the guy who caught the world record hammerhead of 1280 lbs. last year, and which was featured in a photo gallery on the OL website. You can find the complete story and photo gallery of that amazing fish by clicking here.

Just last Saturday Bucky was out at the pass for five minutes when he hooked into another huge hammerhead, nearly as big as his record. This one knocked the stuffing out of him. He fought the beast for 10 solid hours. When Bucky finally got the shark to the boat three pals grabbed the wire leader but were brought to their knees. You’re going to see the full story in an upcoming issue of OL, but for now, consider this. Bucky was so stoved up he couldn’t get out of bed the next day. But he’s ready to go again now.

After last year’s catch, Bucky received a lot of grief from people (some of them anti-hunters/anti-fishermen) regarding the fact that sharks are famously slow-growing fish and should always be released. While it’s true that now many sharks are off limits for targeted fishing (great whites among them), many others are not. Most shark anglers now release their catches unless the fish looks to be an obvious record, or, they’re fishing a shark tournament.

Now you can argue against records and also tournaments if you want, and you can be more specific and take a stand on releasing sharks alone—on the spot. And then you can get more specific: If it’s legal, should any fish be taken during bedding/spawning season? Bucky’s big hammerhead of last year was about to give birth it was found when the Mote Marine lab cut it open. That gave everyone who took issue with this record catch even more arguing ammo.

So what do think—should a fisherman be allowed to keep one shark (one not on the endangered list) for record purposes or a likely tournament win? Or should the biggest sharks that give birth to large numbers of "pups" be released?

Let’s hear your thoughts.