Fort Lauderdale, FL

Unexpected catch in Fort Lauderdale (teenage boy hooks fish of a lifetime)

Robert Ceran

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Great white shark shaking its head as it breaks through the surface.Photo byAlex SteynonUnsplash

A 12-year-old kid hailing from Massachusetts recently caught a great white shark while deep sea fishing off the coast of Fort Lauderdale.

The Boston boy was on board a Fort Lauderdale fishing charter when he captured the 450 pound shark before the crew tagged it and released it.

According to the boy, Campbell Keenan, "It took out drag, and I was like, 'Is this thing going to pull me in?’ Because I was just scared," he explained.

The captain of the fishing charter, John Palucci, and his crew member David Jackson, lent a hand to assist Campbell during the extended battle.

After 45 minutes of hard struggle, they managed to bring the catch to the boat: a 130-inch female great white shark weighing around 450 pounds.

Colleen Keenan, the boy’s mother, was frightened at first. “We had to hold onto him. We had to make sure he wasn’t going to go off the boat. He had to hold on to the reel, and he was strapped in and not really,” she explained.

Capt. Palucci said the capture was very unusual in the Fort Lauderdale area. He said this was only the third great white shark to be caught in the area in the last 20 years.

For Cambell it was the proudest fishing achievement of his life. "The biggest fish that I'd ever caught before was a 25-inch striper," he explained.

Scientists are trying to raise awareness of great white sharks in this area. On January 14, Ocearch, a non-profit organization that follows sharks with the help of satellites, said that two great whites had been seen near Florida's Atlantic Coast.

One of these was a 12-foot 4-inch adult male weighing roughly 1,200 pounds, and was detected east of Biscayne Bay early in the morning. Another one was a slightly smaller 11-foot 7-inch female weighing around 1,250 pounds, was spotted east of Key Largo a little later in the morning.

Ocearch's research has revealed that a few North Atlantic great white sharks travel all the way to Florida during the winter.

This explains why they sometimes turn up as rare catches off the Atlantic coast of the Sunshine State during the cold season.

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