An Alabama man won $ 20,000 in the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo and between him and a fishing partner, a fifth state record for sharks.
David Rogers and his fishing partner Brett Rutledge, both from Mobile, were fishing for bulldog sharks on day one of the rodeo about 30 miles offshore. Rogers said the pair had already caught four small bull sharks when something big hit the 10-pound skipjack he was using as bait.
âWe caught the fish Thursday afternoon, probably around 2pm when the fish bit,â Rogers said. âIt took me 30 minutes to get him to the boat.
âIt’s a grueling fight. Once we got him to the boat it took about an hour to get him on the boat. It was just me and Brett (Rutledge) on the boat. C “was the hardest part, getting your head out of the water and onto the transom. Once we got it up we were able to kick it in.”
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A shark worth $ 20,000?
The fish was a bulldog shark, and if it broke the state record of 354 pounds, 4 ounces, it was worth $ 20,000 in rodeo prizes. Both experienced in catching large sharks, both felt it could be a new record.
âWe knew it was tight,â Rogers said. âWe started to keep fishing and catching it the next morning, but I thought about it lying on the deck, drying off and losing weight. We thought it was too close not to. take.”
Once back in Gulfport, the shark was put on the scales and the weigher announced that it officially weighed 377 pounds, 4 ounces. Rogers had broken the record of 23 pounds.
âI was a little surprised,â Rogers said. “The whole time, I thought it was a little light.
“It was really exciting. It was a good feeling for sure.”
Rutledge was also excited, but the two knew that someone had three days left to pull something bigger.
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Cautiously optimistic about the shark record
âOh man, we were ecstatic,â Rutledge said. “David and I love shark fishing. We caught it on the first day so there was a lot of anxiety throughout the weekend, but it was awesome.”
Rogers also felt that the weight might not hold until the end of the rodeo.
âWe know a few guys who used to fish and they are good shark fishermen,â Rogers said. “We were a little worried.”
It turned out that there was no need to worry. When the scales closed on Sunday, Rogers’ record was still valid – one of many men the men beat.
At the 2016 rodeo, Rogers set a new state record for tiger sharks and bulldog sharks. At the 2017 rodeo, Rutledge twice broke the Bulldog Shark Record. With Rogers’ latest take, the two represented five state record sharks in the rodeo.
However, Rogers said breaking a tiger or bull shark state record and making money will be more difficult in the future.
âIf they put it (in silver) on Bulldog Sharks or Tiger Sharks, it’ll be breakable, but it’s going to be a lot harder,â Rogers said. “It’s going to be a lot harder to find a bigger one than that, but they’re over there.”