Would-be record hammerhead shark released out of respect, South Carolina captain says

HILTON HEAD, S.C. — Two anglers could have earned a spot in the South Carolina record books with their recent catch: a 13 1/2-foot hammerhead shark.

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Instead, they decided to release the creature, which likely weighed 1,000-plus pounds, Outcast Sportfishing Capt. Chip Michalove told USA Today. For reference, the largest hammerhead ever caught in the state weighed 588 pounds, while the world’s biggest was 1,280 pounds, the newspaper reported.

“Would’ve demolished our state record but love these fish too much to kill,” Michalove, of Hilton Head, tweeted Wednesday.

Michalove said he first saw the giant fish July 12, USA Today reported. The next day, the captain returned to the area with two anglers – Pete Quartuccio and one of his friends. The duo soon got a bite and worked for an hour to reel in the huge shark, Michalove told the newspaper.

“They were so exhausted, they could barely stand,” Michalove said of the pair.

When they finally brought the half-ton hammerhead to leader, Michalove tagged it, according to USA Today. They then let the shark go, opting against killing the animal to record its weight, Michalove said.

“This fish is probably older than I am, and to just kill it to make a few headlines or to get my name in a record book isn’t worth it,” he told The Island Packet.