Shark Wrangler Reels In A 13-Foot 'Monster' Tiger Shark

It takes a special breed of person to go actively looking for things that can eat them. I'm personally against dropping myself any notches down the food chain, and I don't think I'm in the minority in that regard.

I guess I would make a pretty poor marine researcher.

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But Elliot Sudal doesn't seem to mind putting himself in harm's way for research. And the people of Instagram don't mind watching him do it.

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Elliot has amassed 111k followers on Instagram.

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Something tells me it's not just the cool pictures of sharks that keep people following him, but I just can't put my finger on what else it might be...

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Elliot is something of a controversial figure in marine research circles.

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He's well known for his social media posts in which he poses with his remarkable, well-photographed catches, which he usually tags, gets a blood sample, and releases.

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However, not everyone's a big fan.

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He's not so much an accredited researcher as he is a citizen scientist, and he has found himself in trouble with the NOAA in the past even though he shares his data with the agency.

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He's also been in the headlines in past, but not for science.

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The New York Post, for one, wrote about how Elliot's abs "upstaged" a photo with a 12-foot hammerhead shark, citing many complimentary social media comments.

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Well, Elliot's back in the news, but it's not for anything particularly bad or controversial.

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It's for hauling in an absolute beast. The kind of monster-animal you couldn't pay me to get anywhere near, but the kind of shark that does very well on Instagram.

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Off the coast of Florida's Captiva Island, Elliot and a friend were just about ready to call it quits for the day without a bite when they decided to cast one more line in the water.

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"Five minutes later, it gets smoked," Elliot wrote on Instagram. "It was the heaviest, most consistently unstoppable run of my life, not even slowing down at full drag..."

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It was like a scene from a movie.

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"Getting down to the last 100 feet of line, it became apparent this wasn’t happening from the beach, and we jump in the boat and slam it in reverse, backing down on it marlin style," he continued.

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Elliot and the shark he had hooked battled it out for five hours, crisscrossing miles of sea.

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Finally, the fight came to an end, and Elliot could get a good look at the shark. It was clearly a beast, and a measuring tape confirmed it at 13'2" in length and 81" around.

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Definitely not a small fish in a big pond.

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He estimated the weight at about 1,100 pounds. "Never seen anything like it," he wrote on Instagram. "One of the craziest fishing experiences of my life."

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It might seem odd, but after this experience, Elliot said he prefers catching the big sharks.

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"I've never dealt with a shark this size, and in my experience they are much easier to tag, blood sample and remove the hook when in shallow water," he wrote.

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"Plus the shark was almost as big as the boat."

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I'm not quite sure how that's in the pros column for big sharks, but I think Elliot and I must have different priorities.

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Removing the hook from a shark's mouth does seem like a challenging task in any environment.

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"These guys have rows of serrated teeth capable of chomping through just about anything out there," Elliot wrote. But he did get it out, so he could get on with the rest of the process.

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With water still moving over the monster tiger shark's gills and the hook out, Elliot took his samples, got some pics, and tagged it before releasing it back to the ocean.

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It's safe to say that the memory of this catch will last a while for Elliot, at least. "Tiger sharks are a rare species to see here, and it’s a great sign at how strong the shark populations are returning after the red tide this summer," he wrote.

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Congrats on the great catch, Elliot!

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And a similarly big congratulations to the tiger shark, who's going to definitely have the best story to tell the other sharks this weekend.

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