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14-foot Hammerhead Caught from Corpus Christi Shoreline

Poco Cedillo of Robstown poses with a 14-foot hammerhead shark caught while he was land fishing at Padre Island National Seashore on Saturday, July 14. Photo courtesy of Poco Cedillo

Poco Cedillo of Robstown pulled in his “catch of multiple lifetimes” from the back of his pickup truck July 14. He was surf fishing at Padre Island National Seashore when he landed a 14-foot hammerhead shark, which took an hour and 15 minutes to reel in.

Cedillo has caught and released hundreds of sharks over his 20 years of land fishing for these marine mammals, but this one was different.

“While leadering it we noticed she was very tired so we quickly took pictures, got a length measurement, took the hook out and did all we could to get her released,” he wrote on the South Texas Fishing Association Facebook page. “All that only took around 3-5 minutes while it was still in plenty deep water. At the time we didn’t bother getting a girth, fork length or even try tagging her. Our main focus was to get her released quickly.”

The shark was held in 3-4 feet of water for about 40 minutes before Cedillo and his companions realized it was not going to make it.

“We were so tired, shark rashed, and disappointed that it sucked the excitement right out of us for a while,” his post continued. “Now for most of us that live for land-based shark fishing, this was something that we never wanted to go through. We then decided that since we couldn’t get her released, we were going to do everything we could to save the meat so that’s what we did. “

The group cut about 400 pounds of meat from the estimated 1,000-pound creature and donated it to Good Samaritan Rescue Mission in Corpus Christi.

Cedillo wrote the lengthy Facebook post because of criticism received after the death of the shark.

“People that know me know that I release every single shark I catch, so this hurts,” he wrote. “Catching this fish of a lifetime and it not making it totally sucks for me, but it happens, especially since we tried hard.”

He also posted the official measurements, which were taken on land after the shark’s death: length head to tail, 14 feet; fork length, 135 inches; girth, 78 inches. He thanked his friends Timmy Tomlinson, Eddie Outlaw, and Brandon Brezina for their help trying to save the shark.

According to news reports, Cedillo used a 12-pound stingray for bait, which he took out by kayak about 500 yards beyond the breakers to drop. After sitting idle for four hours, the giant hammerhead hit at around 4 p.m. Saturday, July 14.

Adult hammerheads are usually 13-20 feet long and can weigh 500-1,000 pounds. They are carnivores who feed mostly on stingrays. Their wide, mallet-shaped heads are lined with highly specialized sensory organs to allow them to scan the ocean floor to find their favorite meals hidden under the sand. Hammerheads can live 20-30 years in the wild.

Most hammerheads are much smaller than the one landed by Cedillo. While the bigger sharks can be deadly, they are considered mostly harmless when it comes to humans.

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