Owen Prior is an experienced fisherman, but even he was surprised when he reeled in a 12-foot tiger shark at Jacksonville Beach in Florida last weekend. 

This is definitely one to remember for sure,” Prior, who runs First Coast Surf Fishing in Jacksonville Beach, told FOX 35 Orlando of his personal record catch. 

“I’ve caught hundreds of sharks up to a 14-foot hammerhead, but that was my personal best tiger shark,” he said. 

Prior said the massive shark took roughly 25 minutes to reel in, and, since tiger sharks are protected in Florida, he “snapped a quick pic and let her go on her way.”

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Owen Prior reeled in and released a 12-foot tiger shark last weekend.  (FOX 35/Owen Prior)

Prior and his friends had been waiting at the beach for around 12 hours when the shark bit his stingray bait at around 4 a.m. 

“I was actually dead asleep when it happened and my friend, he was screaming ‘Owen!’ woke me up,” he said. 

He ran down toward the hook “and the rest is history.” 

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Jacksonville Beach

The tiger shark was caught at Jacksonville Beach in Florida.  (Getty)

“I felt some weight for sure, I knew it was going to be a bigger fish,” he explained. “There’s some sharks that fight harder than others and believe it or not, tigers do not fight as hard as they might seem they do.”

He called tiger sharks “notoriously lazy,” adding that they, and sharks as a whole, are often “opportunistic” about bait.  

“I got lucky for sure, it was barely hooked,” he told FOX 35, explaining that he doesn’t use barbs on his hooks to make the release smoother.

“All in all, it was a great experience having the ability to feel the power of a large shark like that and even better being able to safely remove the hook and watch her swim away back into the abyss with a free meal,” he told the news station. “It’s one to remember.”

tarpon being reeled in

A tarpon jumps from the water while being reeled in on a fishing line.  (Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)

Prior said he’s next setting his sights on tarpon. 

Tarpon are coming,” said Prior, who added he’s “not just a shark guy.”

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He said he reeled in a “huge tarpon” last year and the water is “speaking tarpon to me.”



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