Massive bull shark caught near Howard Frankland - Dallas News |

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Massive bull shark caught near Howard Frankland

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A 400-pound bull shark put up quite the fight for its life, and lost.

"We fought it forever," fisherman John Radtke told FOX 13.  "I mean, we were pulling the pole together because we had to pass it back and forth, it was so strong."

Radtke, who is visiting from New York, and his two friends caught the shark off the Howard Frankland bridge.  It was after midnight Monday and time to go in, but catching a shark was their mission.

"We were actually just about to call it a night and head back in and then we hooked into this," said Radtke, who is originally from Tampa.

It's about 10 feet and Radtke says obviously smart and tough.  They wrestled with it for three hours.

Bull sharks are common in Bay Area waters.  Scientists at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota have studied them for years.

"Bull sharks do come into our coastal waters to give birth to their young pups this time of year to the part where there's fresh water coming out into a bay," explained Dr. Bob Hueter.

They do attack, but Hueter says people aren't their natural prey.

Recently, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considered adding bull sharks to its list of prohibited species to fish.

"It's safe to say that bull shark are doing okay, but we don't know whether they're back to being a completely healthy stock," Hueter said.

But many hopeful fishermen come into Gulf to Bay Bait & Tackle in St. Pete Beach determined to catch a shark.

"With such a huge creature, it's not something that someone will be able to fight on their own," said employee Will Sharp.

It takes a serious rod, and 600 to 800 yards of the strongest of lines.  Also, thick braided wire attached to the line, a big heavy hook, and big bait.

"Normally, they'll take a picture of it, so that they have evidence to show they did catch something that big and then normally they'll just let it go," said Sharp.

Radtke says he and his buddies will turn their shark into bait and mount the jaws.

It is legal to fish for bull shark, but there are restrictions.  A single fisherman is limited to one shark per day.  The restrictions also include a maximum number of two bull sharks per boat.

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