A little over 2 weeks after landing a huge hammerhead, the crew of the Get Bent Land Based Shark Fishing Team subdued another enormous shark on the sands of Topsail Beach on October 1st. This time, a 12-foot, 1-inch tiger shark gave angler Nathan Zrubec of Holly Ridge the ride of his life and was his first land based shark after 6 weeks of fishing with the team.

Despite the heavy surf, Zrubec punched through the breakers in his kayak and dropped a 40-pound hunk of tarpon wired to a 20/0 circle hook about 700 yards offshore. While the team was already on board for the day with a 7-foot spinner shark and the runs of a 9-foot tiger underway as he rode the waves in, Zrubec settled in and waited for his turn.

“At about 6 to 6:15 that evening, the line started ripping off of the 18/0 Everol reel that I was using,” said Zrubec. “I harnessed up, hooked into it, and let it get one more good run. I set the drag on it and reeled as fast as I could to catch the line back up with him. The way he was bending the rod and the drag he was pulling, we knew it was a substantial size fish on the end of it.”

After about 40 minutes of strong runs, and head shakes that strained the spliced 200-pound braid and monofilament mainline to its max, the crew was split on the species at the other end, wagering between a smaller hammerhead or a huge tiger shark. But, when the 40-foot section of 1200-pound monofilament came out of the breakers followed by the 6 foot of no. 25 steel leader, it was time to find out.

“Austin Dishman went out in the surf in about chest deep water and grabbed a hold of the leader,” said Zrubec. “A smaller tiger followed the shark in while he was hooked and peeled off and swam away. When the (hooked) shark got into the chest deep water, it decided it wanted to stick its head up out of the water. That's when I realized it was a tiger shark and how absolutely massive it was.

“We got it on shore, spun it around for pictures, got a good measurement, and got the tag in.   Then we turned it back and it took off like it was fresh. It was real healthy. It took right off and went right back out to sea.”