Fishermen catch 10-foot tiger shark 9 miles off Vanderbilt Beach

A group of fishermen caught a tiger shark in the Gulf Thursday and released it about 9 miles off the coast of Vanderbilt Beach in North Naples.

“Today was funny because the weather was super bad, and I almost canceled the trip,” said captain Joel Sabin with Salty Dog Charters.

Sabin is thankful they continued on after hooking a 10-foot beauty.

“I’ve been captaining out of Cocohatchee here for about five years now,” Sabin said.

This isn’t Sabin’s first run-in with a tiger shark in Collier County waters.

“Last year at this same time, we caught a 12 foot one, and that was our biggest catch yet on the boat,” Sabin said.

A NOAA marine expert told us it has happened before, but very rarely do tiger sharks attack humans. He does say this is the time of year they’re closer to shorelines.

“Many species of sharks this time of year are beginning to migrate to the coastal areas to give birth to their offspring,” said John Carlson, a research biologist at NOAA.

Carlson says tiger sharks can come close to shorelines usually in search of food.

“When sea turtles come to shore and nest in Florida, tiger sharks will take advantage of that, and as sea turtles are moving in and out, they’ll go prey on sea turtles,” Carlson said.

“It’s always exciting when you get a shark on because you never know how big it will be,” Sabin said.

Between the excitement and the choppy water one crew member lost his lunch at sea.

“He had to throw up because the seas were so rough,” Sabin said.

But it was well worth the trip to tell the fish tale. Sabin said it took 30 minutes of fighting to reel in the shark, and the 12-footer last year took three hours.

“It was an adventure for sure,” Sabin said.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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