You’ve heard of Florida Man, surely. Florida Man plants banana trees in potholes. He climbs out of a moving car on the highway to grab a beer from the bed of his truck. He finds an iguana in his toilet and total chaos ensues. It’s the same energy behind the “Tiger King” series, really. There’s only one US state that could match that energy, falling second to Florida, and it’s definitely Texas. Also, this Florida Man counterpart is actually a woman. You won’t believe the incredible footage the Texas angler captured of her massive hammerhead shark catch. What’s more, she did the whole thing from the bed of a pickup truck. You can’t get much more Texan than that.
Everything’s Bigger… Even the Sharks
You know how that phrase goes. Everything’s bigger in Texas. It’s a cliche, I know, but what else are you supposed to say when someone bags an 11.5-foot hammerhead shark?
Jen Merchant isn’t new to the angling world. Actually, she got involved over a decade ago. Her personal bio states she “grew up running limb lines for catfish & frog gigging the lakes and creeks of East Texas.” Then, “once she got a taste of the salt life, she was HOOKED!” The angler’s resume includes a long list of species that are part of her usual catch: redfish, black drum, tarpon, stingray, mackerel, trout, and sharks. Still, the hammerhead caught her by complete surprise and put up quite the fight.
The two “danced” together for almost an hour before Merchant successfully reeled it in. If you’re an avid fisherman, you know just how delicate this dance can be. It takes patience, skill, and maybe even a little bit of luck. Joining her on North Padre Island, just south of Bob Hall Pier, her friend and husband offered up their support. She credits them with helping her break a personal record. She revealed to MySA:
“I was stoked. I’ve been trying to get one over 10 feet for a while. It was definitely satisfying to finally achieve my personal best. I couldn’t have done it without Tim Merchant and Dustin Hickey there to help every step of the way.”
After surveying the shark’s stats, they did end up releasing it back into the ocean. Together, they measured and tagged the hammerhead. Also on their list of tasks involved retrieving DNA samples and removing hooks from other battles with other fishermen. The best part? The trio caught the whole journey on video. Jen Merchant actually posts angling vlogs regularly to her YouTube channel. Called “Fishing With Jen,” she uses the platform to chronicle all aspects of her angling career: the highs and lows.
You can check out the amazing feat here: