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Former Floridian wrestles shark to Nantucket shore

TBO.com staff
Published:   |   Updated: July 17, 2013 at 11:05 PM

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The sight of someone wrestling an alligator has become somewhat commonplace - especially in Florida, where they lurk on so many lakefronts, and with the advent of reality TV shows such as "Swamp People" and "Gator Boys."

Shark wrestling? That's a different story, and one that has garnered a Nantucket, Mass., man some serious national exposure.

Elliot Sudal was angling for bluefish Sunday at Sconset Beach on Nantucket, when he not only hooked a shark, but also wrestled it and dragged it to the shore.

Sudal, 24, said he became suspicious when some of the bluefish he caught had marks that resembled shark bites.

So, to test his theory, he got a larger fishing rod - that he uses to land sharks - from his car and cast it, using half a bluefish as bait.

Sure enough, he was able to land a 7-foot, 200-pound sand shark.

"A minute later, a shark picked it up and I could feel the line just start running out," said Sudal, a Connecticut native who moved to Nantucket from Sanibel. "Then you see this big splash. It jumps up and goes a little crazy."

Sudal fought the shark for about 45 minutes before grabbing it by the tail and dragging it on shore.

He kept it on shore long enough to snap photos with friends - which appear on his Facebook page - before leading the fish back to the water.

"I always treat them well," said Sudal, a guide for Captiva Cruises in 2001-02 who now operates a boat for a mooring company, according to his Facebook page.

"I feel conservation minded when it comes to that - I don't kill any of them, I just let them go."

Sudal, an experienced fisherman, said he has caught hundreds of shark - many while living in Florida - but this only the second he has wrestled onshore since moving to Nantucket.

It likely will also be the most memorable.

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