Many people spent at least part of their summer fishing but, chances are, few did nearly as well as Alabama’s Tyler Kennedy, whose catches include a potential world-record grouper, a state-record bull shark and, most recently, a 948-pound tiger shark.
Kennedy, 21, who hails from a family of prolific anglers, is profiled this week in Field & Stream. His most dramatic catch, obviously, was that of the 14-foot tiger shark (pictured at right).
He was competing in a Gulf of Mexico tournament this month with his uncle, Michael Kennedy, and friend Brett Rutledge. The giant shark required three hours to land and was much too heavy to be hauled onto the 36-foot boat, so it was tied to an outside rail.
The 20-mile run back to port took five hours because the boat could only run at 5 mph.
“My uncle has a 36-foot Contender with three 250-horsepower Yamahas,” Kennedy told Field & Stream. “It’s kind of demoralizing to have to go 5 mph in a triple-engine boat.”
The catch shattered the tournament record by 70 pounds but fell short of an Alabama record by 40 pounds.
However, had the catch been made a few days earlier Kennedy probably would own the record because the shark’s stomach contained the skeleton of a freshly-digested 7-foot-long porpoise.
“If somebody had caught that shark a few days earlier, when that porpoise was fresh in there, it would have weighed 1,200 pounds at least,” Kennedy said.
Earlier during the same tournament, Kennedy landed a 336-pound bull shark. The catch earned second place in the bull shark division but set an Alabama record for the species.
“Because the boat that caught the first-place bull shark was from Florida, it didn’t qualify for the Alabama record,” Kennedy explained. “You have to leave and return to port in a state to qualify for a state record.”
Kennedy’s most cherished catch was made in July, during a deep-water grouper expedition. Kennedy reeled in a 48.56-pound yellowedge grouper (pictured at right), which set a state record previously held by his uncle, Jonathan Graham, who was on the boat with Kennedy.
“He wasn’t mad or anything, but on the way in you could tell he was a little down,” Kennedy said. “But he was glad at least someone in the family had broken it.”
The grouper catch has been submitted to the International Game Fish Assn. for world record consideration.
The current all-tackle record is a 46-pound, 2-ounce yellowedge grouper caught off Virginia Beach in 2008.
The IGFA typically takes several weeks to respond to record requests but Kennedy remains hopeful.
He might also be a little subdued, given that summer is almost over and he’s set to return to Auburn University for his senior year as a chemical engineering major. But as Field & Stream points out, at least “he’ll have plenty to talk about if someone asks what he did on his summer vacation.”
–Images showing Tyler Kennedy with his tiger shark and grouper catches are courtesy of Field & Stream
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