Wellmans hammer home one big fish taleEntire family spends time reeling in 300-pound hammerhead shark
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — The Wellman family of Winterport has one big fish tale to share. One that involves a shark. A hammerhead shark, no less.
The family, which includes Josh, Tracey, Chase and Connor, caught the hammerhead shark sport fishing Feb. 22 off Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The shark measured 92 inches (7.6 feet) and weighed 300 pounds.
"We had the shark tagged with an electronic tracking device and we will receive updates on it's whereabouts and growth if it is found again," said Tracey.
In the meantime, the family will have a life-sized replica made, and quite a fish tale to tell.
Tracey said local fishermen said reeling in a hammerhead on a fishing excursion is rare.
Those on the boat when the shark was caught were the Wellmans, captains Joe and Adam, as well as the Wellman's friends, John and Frances Ahern of Zepherhills, Fla., along with two other couples.
Tracey said the family was fishing with Lady Pamela II from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The shark was caught about noon on Feb. 22 in the Atlantic Ocean.
"This was the only fish we caught that day," Tracey said. "We had been fishing for about four hours, trolling, kite fishing, bottom fishing, etc. We were getting ready to head back in and had already reeled in some lines, when we realized we had a big one on one of the bottom lines."
Tracey said catching the shark was "exciting and a lot of work. It took us 45 minutes to an hour to actually reel the shark in. Everyone had a turn and everyone had to help out. We would reel in a few feet, then the shark would take out a few feet. Captain Adam said it was a game of inches and boy was it ever.
"We all took turns reeling, stopping, waiting, reeling, stopping, waiting. Each person would take a turn at it for five to 10 minutes, some making huge gains, but the shark would always take most of the line back out. At one point, Josh reeled as hard as he could, soon exhausting himself, only to realize the line was not winding up, the shark was too strong.
"Our 13-year-old son Connor reeled a lot, and fought hard with the shark, despite feeling sea sick prior to hooking the hammerhead. Our 5-year-old son Chase had decided to wear his new shark t-shirt and shark necklace he had bought a few days before. He said he was wearing them so that he would catch a shark on his fishing trip. We all laughed at the thought of it, not realizing we actually would."
Tracey said the Wellmans fish frequently. Usually the boys fish at least once a week in the streams or lakes around their hometown.
"We only get a chance to fish the ocean once a year or so," Tracey said.
It appears once a year is enough for the Wellmans to fish on the high seas and come back with one heck of a fish tale. A shark tale, to be specific.
Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.