Veteran surf fisherman Glenn Laskowski Jr. and his buddy JR had their hands full on May 5, when they hooked a beast of a shark from shore on the South Texas coast. The two anglers were fishing from JP Luby Beach on the gulf side of Padre Island, a large barrier island that separates the Gulf of Mexico from Laguna Madre. They hooked the roughly 14-foot, 4-inch hammerhead using heavy-duty tackle and a 24/0 hook baited with a 20-pound cownose stingray. The shark weighed roughly 1,054 pounds, according to the scale the men used at the public pier.
“It was a battle back and forth for almost an hour and 30 minutes,” Laskowski told KIII-TV News in Corpus Christi. “We finally were able to land the fish and get to see the true size of the monster. We quickly dehooked the fish, and got some quick pictures then went to release the fish.”
The anglers spent at least 30 minutes trying to revive the half-ton hammerhead, but they were unsuccessful. A video that Laskowski shared to social media shows him standing chest deep in the water as he tries to revive the huge shark in the surf.
“We honestly gave it hell and did our best to let her go,” Laskowski wrote on the Facebook post. “But after a long battle back and forth, unfortunately she didn’t make it. Me and my partner JR were blessed to see a fish like this along with all the family and people on the third coast.”
The anglers decided to keep the shark, which was well over the minimum length of 99 inches required to harvest hammerheads in Texas. They ended up donating most of the meat to locals, who received it gladly, according to Laskowski.
While Laskowski’s shark is huge by any standard, it’s more than 200 pounds shy of the IGFA all-tackle world record for the species. That 1,280-pound hammerhead shark was caught in May 2006 by Bucky Dennis at Boca Grande, a famed spot on the Florida Gulf Coast that’s known for its tarpon fishing.
Dennis also used a stingray for bait, according to the IGFA record book. Photos of the catch and the story of the shark battle were chronicled in Outdoor Life by the magazine’s longtime former fishing editor Jerry Gibbs. Interestingly, Dennis’ world-record shark measured 14-feet, 3-inches, which is one inch shorter than Laskowski’s Texas coast hammerhead.