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‘THE CATCH OF A LIFETIME’: Local angler hooks rare 15-foot shark

August 26, 2013

Jeff Melvin, of Whitley County, caught a 15-foot endangered largetooth saw shark during a fishing trip in Florida. Pictured is a replica of the shark, which has 27 pair of teeth. Post & Mail photo / Nicole Ott

WHITLEY COUNTY — There may be many fish in the sea, but Jeff Melvin caught one that many fishermen will never see in their lifetime.

Melvin, of rural Whitley County, hooked a 15-foot, 900-pound largetooth sawfish shark during a fishing trip in Florida April 29.

An endangered species, Melvin only had a few seconds to snap some photos, measure, and release his catch back into the wild. By law, he couldn’t take the shark out of the water.

“I couldn’t get the whole shark in the photo — he was so big,” Melvin said.

After a several-month long process by the largest taxidermy in the world, Gray’s Taxidermy, Florida, Melvin finally got to show off his rare catch with friends and family at his home in northwest Whitley County Saturday.

“They did a beautiful job on him,” Melvin said. “He looks just like he did in the water.”

The shark put up a 2.5 hour fight, and Melvin said he nearly ran out of reel on his 6-foot long pole.

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