March 30, 2011 in Nation/World

Shark shocks Texas fisherman, crew when it leaps into boat

Associated Press
 

Jason Kresse poses with a 375-pound, 8-foot long mako shark at a dock in Freeport, Texas.
(Full-size photo)

FREEPORT, Texas – It’s the catch of a lifetime, but it’s not clear whether a Texas fisherman landed an 8-foot shark or it landed him.

Jason Kresse, 29, of Freeport, and two crew members had been fishing for red snapper about 50 miles into the Gulf of Mexico and were dumping fish guts into the water about 3:45 a.m. Monday when they heard two big splashes in the distance.

“All of a sudden something hit the side of the boat,” Kresse told the Associated Press on Tuesday. “He ends up landing on the back of the boat.”

The mako shark had apparently been in a rush to feed. It began thrashing around, and Kresse said he and his crew couldn’t get close to the 375-pound fish to toss it back in the water. It damaged the boat before dying several hours later.

Kresse, who has been fishing since he was a child, said the unplanned catch was a shock. Just unloading it was a challenge because it was so heavy.

“We had to use a forklift to get it off the boat when we got to the dock,” Kresse said.

The crew didn’t have a permit to catch sharks, so Kresse contacted federal fisheries officials on shore to get one. Mike Cox, a spokesman with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said there’s no violation because the shark’s death was an accident.

The shark is on display at a seafood business in Freeport, about 55 miles south of Houston.

“I’m going to get a mount of it,” Kresse said. “A fish jumping in your boat, 400 pounds, that’s unbelievable.”

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