GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) –
To Mike Garrett of Ocean Springs, this is what the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo is all about, bringing in the biggest fish.
“This was weeks of preparation on where we’re going to fish, stacking up on baits, make sure we have enough to last throughout the tournament,” he said.
And it worked. He landed a record-destroying Tiger shark weighing in at 675 pounds as part of the tournaments bounty hunt.
“It was a lot of work. I was puking,” Garrett said. “We set the hook on the shark at 11:30 Friday night and pulled the shark up to the side of the boat at 4:15 Saturday morning.”
If it stands, it will be worth $25,000.
“If we win, probably use $5,000 on chiropractor work,” he said.
It got the attention of young anglers like Mason Gobble and Landon Cox.
“If I ever catch a shark or something, I’d be proud of myself,” Landon said. “Or black drum. It’s kind of like an accomplishment.”
But Landon had a reality check when it comes to the fish he would rather land.
“Probably a jack crevalle,” he said.
“Because I wouldn’t take the risk of catching a shark.”
The attention by young competitors is exactly what rodeo president Richard Valdez is hoping for.
“It’s very exciting for the rodeo. It’s very exciting for the kids,” he said. “Of course, we just ended the kids’ rodeo, and as you see behind you, there are a lot of kids and a lot of attention. When they pulled the shark up out of the water over here a few minutes ago off the boat, that whole stage area was jammed packed.”
The previous Tiger Shark record holder, David Rogers of Mobile, brought in a big Tiger himself at 479 pounds.
The competition keeps him coming back.
“You’ve got a lot of great fishermen,” Rogers said. “There’s a lot of great people down here that know where to go and what to do, so it’s just fun. The competition is fun, and we enjoy it.”
There are 175 fishermen competing for the two bounties – Tiger Shark and Stingray – 33 fishermen for the Speckled Trout Shootout, and hundreds more in the regular tournament.
The tournament continues through July 4.
So far, the Tiger Shark caught by Mike Garrett of Ocean Springs is the one to beat at 675 pounds. (Photo source: WLOX)
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