TEXAS CITY, Texas – A 26-year-old Texas City man reeled in the catch of a lifetime on the night of June 30 - a 12-foot, 6-inch tiger shark that weighed in at 1004.3 pounds.
Avery Fuller spoke with KSAT about his first-place catch in the Texas City Jaycees Tackle Time Fishing Tournament.
Fuller said he hooked the shark at 11:45 p.m. on June 30 and landed it at 12:05 a.m. on July 1. He was with one of his brothers, Clint Fuller, and family friend Tyler Walker when he landed the shark.
“I have 3 brothers and we have been fishing for all of our lives. I’ve been going offshore fishing since about 2005 when I was old enough by my dad’s rules” said Fuller. “I had my first boat when I was 10 and I’ve never stopped fishing since.”
When Fuller landed his latest shark, he said he was 40 miles south of Galveston after launching from Texas City in a 22-foot 1994 Mako 221 boat.
After hooking and reeling in the massive shark, which more than met the minimum size limit for tiger shark, Fuller said “we shot it. There’s no way we could put it in the boat live.” He confirmed to KSAT that he harvested the meat from the shark.
“I only target sharks twice a year in 2 tournaments where there are Shark categories. The rest of my fishing is targeting other species of fish,” Fuller said.
He’s received both praise and backlash online for his catch.
“I’ve caught many sharks and released 95% of the ones I have caught. My previous personal best was a 629 pound Tiger Shark caught in 2016,” Fuller said.
Catching big tiger sharks seems to run in the family - Fuller’s father caught a 1,080-pound tiger shark in 1990, also in a Mako boat.
“It’s always been a dream for my brothers and me to match his fish or beat him. I didn’t beat him but I came close, and I did it in my Mako Boat like he did,” Fuller said.
The Texas state record for the biggest tiger shark is 1,129 pounds and 13-feet-6-inches long.
In response to the backlash online, Fuller said “there are countless actual problems in the world today people could be putting their negativity toward than one fish being killed and harvested. There is nothing people can say to me that will stop a tradition in my family and our community.”
“The Texas City Jaycees Tackle Time Fishing Tournament has had Sharks as a category for 59 years, and will continue to have it as a category with fishermen continuing to follow the laws and regulations,” Fuller said.