HUGE SHARK CAUGHT

POSTED: Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 2:41pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:24pm

Florida teens reel in huge bull shark at St. Petersburg Pier...

Two St. Petersburg, Florida teenagers are talking about the one that didn't get away.

Early Wednesday morning 19-year-old Josh Lipert and 16-year-old Robbie Korkoske reeled in an 8 1/2-foot bull shark.

They estimated the shark's weight at between 300 and 400 pounds.

"We've caught about four in the last two years and this is the biggest one by a hundred pounds," Libert said.

Lipert says it took about 90 minutes to get the fish to the end of the St. Petersburg Pier.

From there, they moved it along to the beach, where they pulled it ashore.

The sight drew quite a crowd.

Eventually they took the shark home and cut it into pieces in the driveway.

Using knives and saws more appropriate for wood than fish, they opened up the huge sea creature and found it to be a pregnant female.

The curator for the Pier Aquarium, Butch Ringelspaugh, said he wished the teens had released the shark after catching her.

"Sharks take a long time before they become sexually mature, and once they do finally start reproducing their young have a slim chance to actually make it to adulthood," Ringelspaugh said.

He said bull sharks are close to being categorized as "threatened" because of their dwindling numbers.

He said they are common in Tampa Bay, and while they can be aggressive, attack are rare.

An official with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission took the pups for research purposes, and Korkoske and Lipert plan to give the shark meat to friends and relatives.

Neither eat seafood.

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