14-foot tiger shark caught off coast of North Myrtle Beach

Photo courtesy of Capt. Ronnie Atkinson of Fish Hook Charters

Six Marines from Camp Lejeune landed a 14-foot tiger shark off North Myrtle Beach last Saturday.

On board the Fish Hook II that day were captain Richard Long, Jr., first mate Brandon Johnson and the half-dozen Marines on a bachelor party fishing trip.

Suddenly, three miles off shore, they spotted a dark shadow in the water next to the boat.

"First mate yells fish on, and the next thing I know, it's 2 hours later and there's a 14-foot tiger shark beside the boat," said Long.

It took an eight-hook fishing rig, a heavy-duty tackle and lots of arm strength to pull the huge fish in. Along the way, there were doubts they could land it.

"Richard looked right at them and said, Guys, I don't know if we're going to be able to get this one in and they were just saying, no. They're Marines so they were all, we're going to do it," Johnson said.

Once they had the shark alongside the boat, the crew wrapped a rope around its tail and dragged it backwards through the water to drown the beast.

It sounds cruel, but, the captain says, it's necessary.

"That just slows her down where that way when we go to pull her in, she's not so dangerous to put our hands on."

Most sharks that end up in Long's boat are only a few feet long and often, the crew just takes pictures and then tosses the fish back.

Not this time.

Sharks are edible and Long says the Marines fed their whole platoon with this one.

"They said shark over pasta, you gotta try it."

At 14 feet long and 750 pounds, Long says he's never seen one bigger in his 30 years around the docks.

"I mean, we've been catching them, but this one's just a monster, compared to the other ones.

Johnson says when the big fish was finally in the boat, there was cheering and high-fives all around.

Like scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl, Long says.