GASPARILLA ISLAND, Fla. - A routine day of fishing turned into a daring stunt after an angler decides to "help" his deadly catch! The charter boat captain hooked the large bull shark 30 miles off Gasparilla Island. The professional fisherman told Wink News swimming with a shark is an experience he'll never forget.
"This was the coolest thing that ever has happened to me," said Charter Captain Orion Wholean. The YouTube video of the gutsy angler and his nearly nine-foot catch already has hundreds of thousands of hits.
Wholean caught the 300-pound Bull Shark last weekend.
"I like catching them and I like the element of danger. I guess makes it more exciting then catching a bass in a pond," he said.
Wholean says he nabbed the shark and brought it along side the boat. "With gloves I reached in a pulled the hook out of it's mouth," he said.
But after releasing the big game, the fish started to sink.
"I held onto it for about 30 seconds with my fins and kicked it until it was lively enough and then it swam away. I know it's still out there perfect and healthy today," he said.
Nervous onlookers took cell phone video as the fisherman gently pushed the shark into open water.
"If it had turned on me I don't know what I would have done. I would have been very scared," he said.
The captain insists the shark was too tired to fight the helping hand. "Everyone was happy the shark swam away fine, had happy customers on the boat and they were enjoying it, it just worked out perfect," he said.
The charter captain says the added attention is great for business. Thankfully for his sake, there were no painful consequences. However, the actions of the fisherman are also sparking controversy and conversation.