Pictured: The massive 1,000-pound bull shark that was captured lurking around Florida Keys (but the researcher set it free)

  • Enormous female bull shark captured off the coast of Florida in May – the largest on record
  • University of Miami researcher guessed shark was between 800 and 1,000 pounds

By Daily Mail Reporter

Published: | Updated:

These are the pictures that show a seasoned shark expert and professor catching one of the largest bull sharks on record.

Neil Hammerschlag, who is an associate professor at the University of Miami, caught the massive sea creature during an on-going survey project to capture and tag sharks.

He said he’s floored that creatures like that still swim around in the open water. ‘It’s an amazing sign to know they’re still out there,’ he told the Miami Herald earlier this month.

The pictures show the colossal creature being brought aboard the ship’s drum, where the female bull shark was then tagged and released into the open water.

As soon as he began to pull on the fishing line, Hammerschlag could tell this was no ordinary catch.

‘We didn’t know if we were pulling up a sunken boat, a monster shark, a school bus — we had no idea which it was,’ Hammerschlag told OurAmazingPlanet.

It turned out to be a monster – a 10 foot long bull shark weighing in at over 1,000 pounds, to be precise.

‘As soon as it came to the surface, it literally took my breath away, it was so big,’ Hammerschlag said of the beast caught in the Florida Keys.

Hammerschlag, a shark researcher and professor at the University of Miami, spends every other weekend hunting for sharks in Southern Florida.

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He has caught more than a thousand sharks over the years, which he and his team label with either a satellite tag or an ID tag, take muscle and fin samples, as well as a vial of blood before releasing the animal back into the ocean.

And, on May 27, Hammerschlag and his team tagged their biggest shark to date.

The scientist says that he can usually bring in a line by himself but this time he needed a colleague to help.

Hauling it in, the massive, female bull shark took their breath away, Hammerschlag said. The researchers estimated that it weighed more than 1000 pounds. Bull sharks tend to weigh between 200 and 500 pounds.

After fitting the massive shark with an ID tag, they released her back into the deep blue. A blood sample will determine whether or not she is pregnant.

Bull sharks are the region’s top predator and, like other species, females tend to be larger than males.

Both male and female bull sharks have the most testosterone of any animal on the planet, according to Hammerschlag.

Like great white sharks and tiger sharks they have serrated teeth which allow them to tear apart their meals and go after bigger prey.

Bull sharks also like to swim in shallow, coastal waters and are unusual in their ability to survive in freshwater.

They have previously been found in rivers around the world, including the Mississippi river.

Hammerschlag reassured Our Animal Planet that the sharks don’t specifically target humans: ‘They possess the machinery but lack the motivation.’

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That said, experts often say that Bull sharks are the most dangerous in the world and are often blamed for unprovoked, deadly attacks.

Of the 29 shark attacks in the U.S. last year, 11 happened in Florida. None were fatal.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>