A 12-year-old boy scored the catch of his life after catching a massive 11-foot, 500-pound great white shark during a chartered fishing trip.
Campbell Keenan and his mother Colleen were on the small fishing boat about a mile off the coast of Fort Lauderdale when he felt a pull on his line on Tuesday.
Almost immediately, Campbell was barely able to stay in his seat on the boat deck as the hookfish flapped back and forth.
The brave boy held on and after a noble fight a 500lb white man got tired and came alongside the boat.
“It was just, oh my god, it’s a great white shark!” he told the Sun Sentinel.
Campbell described the fight with the great white as “scary” and he feared he would be dragged out of his chair by the 500-pound shark
After a 20-minute fight with the shark, it finally gave up and swam close to the boat
Finally, with the help of the crew, the 12-year-old managed to reel in the huge catch, which was swimming calmly alongside the boat while his mother took clips
The young fisherman and his family were staying in town for his sister’s hockey tournament when his mother decided to book him a chartered fishing trip as a reward.
Once they reached about 120 feet of water, Captain Paul Paolucci set up the largest rod and reel on the boat and dropped a dead four-pound blackfin tuna to the seabed.
The goal, according to Paolucci, was “everything big”—a claim that the middle school student met with flying colors.
Offset wise, the lure was significantly larger than anything Campbell, who normally used an 18 inch largemouth bass, had fished before.
“It had a huge catch,” he told the Sentinel.
After about 20 minutes of patiently waiting, the line took a bite. mayhem ensued.
“It’s just lifted off, about 300 meters away,” said Keenan, seated in a combat chair. “I was like, ‘Oh damn, is that a shark, is that a sailfish?’ Because I’ve never fought anything this big before.”
Campbell, his mother Colleen and his sister were at his sister’s hockey tournament in Fort Lauderdale
The fight was exhausting — like baseball practice in the sun with no water, Campbell described.
Support came from his mother, Colleen, who devotedly fed him bottle after bottle of Gatorade.
Eventually, Campbell reeled in his massive catch enough to see a flash of color in the water below—a huge flash of color.
Keenan was horrified as the catch – clearly not a sailfish – continued to bang against the line, fearing another tug on the reel would drag him and the rod into the water.
Eventually, with a little help, Campbell managed to reel in the monstrous fish. Finally exhausted from its struggle, the shark swam docilely alongside the boat.
Boy’s first impression of his shocking catch: “So cool”.
The middle school student hopes his impressive catch will “show off” to school — despite having to release the endangered fish back into the ocean
In all of his 20 years of professional fishing off the South Florida coast, Captain Paolucci says he has only hooked three great whites.
He and his crew measured Campbell’s catch and tagged it for Nova Southeastern University.
They then cut the line near the hook — which is destined to catch in the corner of the fish’s mouth and eventually disintegrate — and released it back into the ocean.
Great White Sharks are a protected species and must be released immediately after capture.
Trophy or not, Campbell is still pretty pleased with the photos and video documenting his catch.
“It felt great to land it.” he told the Sun Sentinel. “It gives me the right to show off in class.”