A shark wrangler caught social media users’ attention this week when a photo emerged of him with a 12-foot hammerhead shark on a Florida beach — but the fish wasn’t the only star of the image.
Elliot Sudal was in Sanibel over the weekend and caught two hammerhead sharks, one measuring up to 12 feet. Sanibel-Captiva Islander posted photos of Sudal with his massive catch on Monday, and said the sharks were quickly tagged with research data and safely released back into the ocean.
“It’s the biggest thing you could possibly catch off the beach,” Sudal told WINK News. “I mean, these things are strong. They are good fighters, you’ve got big reels, big hooks … it’s exciting.”
The post received more than 570 reactions and nearly 200 comments, with many users saying they didn’t even notice the shark because of Sudal’s physique, which was on full display in the pictures.
“Who’s looking at the shark here?” one woman questioned, referencing to Sudal as the main attraction in the pictures.
Another woman followed up with the comment, “I didn’t even notice the shark in the pic…anyone else??”
“I’m not sure what’s more impressive, the shark or that guys abs?!?” one woman wrote.
“ABSolutely the best looking shark I’ve ever seen at the beach,” another person said.
Turns out, this isn’t the only impressive catch Sudal has made.
The wrangler, who works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been a shark hunter for the last four years. He has caught and released more than 500 sharks, according to WINK News. The 12-foot hammerhead Sudal caught over the weekend was named after his Instagram account, “AckSharks,” which itself is filled with videos and photos of his impressive catches.
Sudal also caught Vice President Pence’s attention last April, while he was shark hunting on Sanibel Island. He was attempting to reel in a 500-pound “mystery creature” when Secret Service agents swarmed the catch site. Pence and his family later showed up for a relaxing day on the beach, he wrote in a Facebook post. Pence joined Sudal and watched him catch a 13-foot smalltooth sawfish.
Though many shy away from sharks, Sudal told the news site he wants to bring more awareness to the fish.
“Finding out how they are moving and why, depending on water quality, temperature, climate change, things like that," he said, referring to his love for the job.
Sudal will be working with the New England Aquarium in the summer to run the Nantucket shark research division “studying the migration of sand bar sharks,” according to the Sanibel-Captiva Islander.