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I saw this posted on another site:bowdown. I hope this hasen't already been posted. I'm sorry if it has.

<SPAN class=postbody>DESTIN ? Adlee Bruner?s fishing story is about the big one that didn?t get away.

Bruner and five friends headed out Saturday morning on a charter boat, hoping to catch some grouper to enter in the annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.

Instead, Bruner landed a gargantuan 844.4-pound mako shark, setting a new record for the decades-old tournament.

?It was tense,? Bruner, 47, said about the fight to land the 11-foot shark with a mouthful of huge teeth. ?I?ve fished for 40 years. I?ve never see one that big.?

Bruner and his fishing buddies were on the 52-foot charter boat ?Twilight? with Capt. Robert Hill of Destin and deckhand Eric Hayles.

"We were precisely 70 miles southwest of Destin,? Hill said. ?In beautiful blue water. It was about 280 feet deep.?

The fishermen first noticed the big mako because it kept eating grouper and scamp they had hooked.

?I told them to bring up their rigs,? Hill said.

When the rigs came up, the big shark surfaced just behind the boat.

?A huge shark,? Bruner said.

?That was an incredible sight,? Hill said. ?You sort of run around not knowing what to do, it was so big.

?It was like ?Jaws.? ?

Hill hooked a two-foot amberine on as bait and tossed it out. The rig included a stout fiberglass rod and a Shimano PLD 50 reel custom built at Destin?s Half-Hitch Tackle, with 100-lb. test line and a steel leader.

About 10 minutes after the bait was in the water, at 12:20 p.m., the shark hit about 200 feet from the boat, and the fight was on.

?He went to the bottom for about 30 minutes,? Hill said of the shark. ?(Then) it just decided to come up to the surface.?

Bruner was not strapped in to a chair as he battled the huge fish.

?I was standing up the whole time,? he said.

When the shark surfaced, Hill backed the boat up to it. That is when things got tense, Bruner and Hill said.

?My deckhand (Hayles) was the most courageous of all,? Hill said. ?He reached out there and gaffed him. He?s the one who knew the fish wasn?t worn down. He?s tough.?

?He went crazy,? Bruner said of the shark. ?It was a fight.?

At one point the rope attached to the gaffe wrapped around the boat?s rudder and began to fray. But after 10 minutes they were able to get another rope around the shark?s tail.

?Once we had the tail roped, we had him,? Hill said. Still, it took about an hour for the fish to succumb.

But then a challenge arose.

?We couldn?t get him in the boat,? Bruner said. ?We tried for about an hour, but we couldn?t pick him up.?

Eventually, they tied the shark to the stern with three ropes and began the trip back to land.

Hill, who?s been a charter captain since 1985, said his boat ran full out the entire way back, but the journey still took more than four hours to reach Destin Harbor.

The shark was hoisted up at the rodeo before a big crowd. It tipped the scale at 844.4 pounds. After it was gutted, the mako still weighed 638 pounds ? breaking the tournament?s previous shark division record by 338 pounds.

Bruner said the shark eclipsed the size of any fish he?s ever caught before.

?I?ve caught an 85-pound Warsaw (grouper) before,? he said. ?This is a totally different fish here.?

Bruner, who is self-employed from Bruce, Fla., and has fished many other times with Hill, said it?s also likely the only time he?ll ever land and keep a big shark.

?Ninety-nine percent of the time we catch sharks and let them go. (But) it?s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.?

Hill concurred.

?This is the biggest thing I?ve ever seen or caught myself.

?Basically, when you have good customers who?ve been fishing for something like this for years, you can?t pass it up.

?We normally catch and release all sharks. This was a special occasion just because of the size. And it was a rodeo record.
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