Some recent shark activity off a popular central Florida public beach may be keeping some cautious surfers and swimmers on dry land, but the news served as pure enticement for angler Dan Ficocello.
As a result, anyone who was around Flagler Beach early Sunday morning may have witnessed Finocello pull a 12-foot, 4-inch, 543-pound great hammerhead shark onto a beach where sunbathers normally frolic during the daytime.
The Daytona Beach Journal reports that the 28-year-old shark angler from Bunnell, Fla. paddled his kayak about 250 yards offshore late Saturday night and dropped his bait—a barracuda head. Then, fishing from shore only 15 minutes after placing his baited line, the hit came, followed by an incredible run that lasted at least a quarter hour.
With dawn approaching nearly three and half hours later, Finocello landed the massive shark, which was expired when it was pulled onto the beach.
It took a dozen helpers to drag the hammerhead across the beach and load it onto a truck so the angler could haul it to the Flagler Beach Pier, where he photographed his catch.
Last week, a Flagler Beach lifeguard said a surfer refused emergency treatment after receiving a shark bite “maybe the size of a quarter,” to his side.
Two days later, the Daytona newspaper reported that a swimmer felt something like a punch that broke the skin on her leg as she swam in chest-deep water.
As for Finocello, he says this weekend’s shark was the catch of a lifetime for him. Local news reports said it was the largest hammerhead ever caught by a beach angler in the region.
“I fought it the whole time. I was hunkered down in one of those little fold-out beach chairs,” Ficocello said.