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Boy, 12, Hooks Record 551-pound Bull Shark Off Florida Coast; 'This Thing Was Huge'

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PALM BEACH, Florida -- After half a day at sea, a 12-year-old boy caught a bull shark weighing more than the state record for a catch of the coastal fish.

Aidan Murray Medley reeled in a 551-pound shark Tuesday just north of the Palm Beach Inlet.

The state record, set in 1981, was a 517-pound capture at Panama City Beach, according to the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Aidan had set out early on the Thumper from Sailfish Marina in Palm Beach Shores, intent on catching anything at all. Aidan, who weighs 120 pounds, reeled in the fish on his own, first mate Roy Rice said.

"This thing was huge," said Aidan, who has been casting lines since age 5.

It was long, too: 9.58 feet. Bull sharks rarely grow past 9 feet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The shark put up a strong fight. After 20 minutes of muscling the line, Aidan lost feeling in his body, he said. "When you have a shark on the line it's completely painful."

Aidan, a seventh-grader at Eagle Hill School in Connecticut, was in Palm Beach this week with family who have an apartment there. His mother, Maureen Murray, said her son wants to be a marine biologist.

This wasn't the first time he caught a shark. A year ago, he reeled in a 461-pound one, his mother said.

"Of course, I'm happy. I'm proud," she said. "It's not really surprising to me. I'm still pretty happy."

He plans to have the bull shark mounted.

Florida prohibits anglers from keeping several other species of shark, forcing anglers to return them to the sea. Sharks, unlike other fish, are slow to reproduce.

Aidan's family plans to enter his catch for the new state record.


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Reader Comments

39 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

that little kid is a barbarian
   comment# 1   - john · tampa · Jan 3, 2008 @ 4:40am

I suppose he should make the most of it as there won't be any sharks left by the time he's old enough to know better! C'mon USA, what is it with you guys and shark killing?
   comment# 2   - Blueplanet · London, UK · Jan 3, 2008 @ 5:04am

Now this is nice, lets teach our children how to kill more living things. Good values, KILL, KILL, it makes me sick. I am sure his life was in danger when he killed the shark. (NOT)
   comment# 3   - Pam · Key Largo FL USA · Jan 3, 2008 @ 5:10am

Will testosterone-overdosing, greedy fishermen never learn??? LEAVE THE BIG SHARKS ALONE!!! They're already facing population problems, and there aren't many of the truly big ones left. They deserve to be LEFT ALONE. If this kid had fallen into the water while trying to reel the shark in, I guarantee there would've been a whole different outcome to the story. It's okay, though - the bad karma he's reaped from doing this will catch up with him sooner or later...
   comment# 4   - Gypsy · Tacoma, WA - USA · Jan 3, 2008 @ 10:33am

He wants to be a marine biologist?? He should start reading the statistics on depletion of shark populations as his first lesson.
   comment# 5   - Kurt · Sterling, Va. · Jan 3, 2008 @ 12:22pm

And he wants to be a Marine Biologist, yeah right. A Marine Destroyer more like, to be a MB requires a caring and respect for the ocean and its inhabitants, neither of which you have young man.
   comment# 6   - Paul · Reading,UK · Jan 3, 2008 @ 12:30pm

Are you kidding me?....This kid a barbarian? No sharks left when he gets old? KILL, KILL sharks? Big sharks in trouble? You call him a barbarian for catching a big fish that just so happens to be a shark. So what!! It's one Bull Shark. Bull sharks are plentiful. It's not like he caught a Great White, whose populations are low. We're talking about a Bull Shark. Just don't have a knee jerk reaction about catching sharks. I mean some sharks are more plentiful than others, and bull sharks are one of them. So let's keep all the hate talk to a minimum and appreciate that a 12 yr. old boy caught a big shark that he is proud of. And let's not forget that to a 12 yr. old boy a shark is an exciting fish to catch. Much less a 500 Lb. Bull Shark.
   comment# 7   - Bob · Baton Rouge, La. USA · Jan 3, 2008 @ 2:21pm

Stop hating on the child. He fished one shark in which our current ways of apathy, human consumption and habitat destruction threaten many many more. If anything, I hope this experience strengthens his bond with the sea and his fascination with its predators. If you want to hate on a child for harming the environment, start looking toward your suburban/urban children who do nothing but desire for more material goods and cheap methods of entertainment such as designer clothes, video games, trash tv and drugs. Fishing is not a crime unless we abuse the privilege.
   comment# 8   - Gabriel Acosta · Richmond · Jan 3, 2008 @ 9:19pm

A marine biologist... I don't know very many of my collegues who take pleasure in killing an animal that has roamed the open oceans 3 times longer then that kid has even been alive! Blue Planet - You shouldn't make comments on the USA being to blame, your country has nearly wiped out one of it's most plentiful sharks the Porbeagle. Educate yourself before isolating a particular country, this is a world wide problem! Gabriel - Maybe you should read the article a little closer, this kid is from Greenwich, CT. That is about as suburban as you can get, so good point you make.... less then intelligent! People that are sticken up for this kid obviously don't realize what state our oceans are in... It's unfortunate, but one day very soon us "tree huggers" as I'm sure that's what you think we are, will be telling all you nay sayers, I TOLD YOU SO.
   comment# 9   - Brendan Maas · Philadelphia, PA · Jan 4, 2008 @ 7:40am

Way to go Aidan and good luck on your path towards the future. You, Aidan probably have more sense than most if not all the people whining about you catching this humongous Bull shark. Bull sharks are not only plentiful in Our Gulf but all over the world. Great catch and remember to keep on fishing it's great family sport!
   comment# 10   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska, Texas · Jan 4, 2008 @ 6:00pm

Brendan Mass I take your point, however killing sharks for sport is extremely rare in the UK. There are many shark clubs and they are all catch and release. I'm afraid we cannot control commercial fishermen who legally catch sharks, as much as we'd like to. Legal protection for sharks is long overdue and I am doing my bit to see that it happens. Cheers.
   comment# 11   - Blueplanet · Lonon, UK · Jan 5, 2008 @ 3:38am

O.K. so I can see the point of the people saying that sharks are being killed needlessly, however he is 12. Maybe he hasn't taking into consideration the BIG picture, because he is 12, he has dreams that have no boundaries or rules in his mind, so catching a shark is so exciting and amazing to him. I realize that there are many sharks species in danger, but bulls aren't one of them. A lot of people choose a career because they love the area of study, and when they grow up (NOT 12 Years OLD) and choose to be a Marine Biologist,then they can can see what happens when sharks are over harvested and so on. We were all 12 once what did you think about. At least he isn't sitting on his butt getting fat, he is out doing something in nature. He will grow up and learn many life lessons that will help him decide what path to take and what is right.
   comment# 12   - Kathy Brown · Mountain Home Idaho USA · Jan 7, 2008 @ 2:27pm

We know this boy personally. He is only 12 and he's nice. But since he likes the water and bull sharks aren't endangered, why don't you let him do what he's good at. BOB I like your nice comments to him. And all the others who don't mind him doing what he likes to. I personally wouldn't kill a shark myself, but we are happy he's made a proud accomplishment, and that his family is proud to. Also, as Kathy Brown said, maybe this is going to be the beginning of a career. GIVE HIM A BREAK! AT LEAST HE'S NOT INSIDE PLAYING VIDEO GAMES ALL DAY, HE'S OUT IN NATURE. IN THE WATER WHERE HE LIKES IT! :-)
   comment# 13   - Ben & Eliza Schmidt · Brooklyn, NY · Jan 7, 2008 @ 3:38pm

I'm a Marine Biologist and this type of story never fails to sicken me, catch and release. It is not his first big shark either,last year it was a 461lb specimen. Please educate him then let him continue if he wants.
   comment# 14   - Izzy · Roseau, Dominica · Jan 8, 2008 @ 6:44pm

It's unnecessary. Whats the point? Whether you support his kill or not, its useless. He killed a beautiful animal thats been swimming the seas decades longer than he's even been alive, and for what? A cool story to tell and a big dead shark to hang on his wall? Way to go kid. Although I cant really blame you, its your dumbass ignorant parents that helped you get where you are. This is stupid.
   comment# 15   - Danny · California · Jan 10, 2008 @ 3:33pm

danny in cali just leave it at "way to go kid" your next comment makes you look like an ignorant dumbass. have a nice day.
   comment# 16   - george · breckenridge co · Jan 11, 2008 @ 7:55pm

Be nice people he is just a kid.
   comment# 17   - A person · Alaska,USA · Jan 14, 2008 @ 11:11pm

I was disgusted viewing Aidan on the Carson Daly show. He was cackling while describing how he poked his fingers in the bull shark's eyes, laughing about how it was lashing about. Could it be, since the shark was still alive that it was in great distress and pain from being tortured by this 12 yr. old? And he wants to be a marine biologist? Sitting on the shark as if he was heroic in his battle? How cruel and barbaric can you get? Why aren't bull sharks protected? Marine biologists DO NOT KILL SHARKS FOR PLEASURE. Why did he think it was so hilarious to be stabbing the shark's eyes with his fingers while it was still alive? I'm wondering how many other animals have been tortured under his hands. Oh yeah, beautiful animal, stuffed and stuck on a wall. For what? Self-indulgence? Of course! Let's not teach our children to respect animal life. Geez!!!!! It wasn't even caught for food! And, btw, he's 12 yrs. old. If he hasn't been taught to respect animals by now, he never will. Ok, so this is a sport, but there is no one out there, not even his parents that can agree stabbing a still live shark in the eyes, basically torturing the poor animal is normal! Because IT IS NOT!!!! The kid's got problems way beyond sharks. I think it is sickening and disgusting.
   comment# 18   - Jeryl · Ohio, USA · Jan 23, 2008 @ 12:25am

Well,... this is a sport. While I wouldn't do it myself it is still a sport. But, I must agree with Jeryl, gouging out a still living animals eyes even just ramming your fingers into them. Is wrong, cruel, and if it was a dog, cat, or other pet. You would be charged with abuse and cruelty to animals. And before someone takes a crack at my bad spelling Ill beat them to it. My spelling sucks with a capital SUCKS. ... Also makes you wonder, whats this little boys religion because I don't see one that he'd fit into.
   comment# 19   - . . . D? · West Virginia, Core · Feb 7, 2008 @ 3:01am

keep up the good job kid! what makes me feel bad is the fact that people trash talk about a kid that has a hobby, how about the many kids that really affect this world. Like drug dealers or thieves or maybe kids that shoot up schools, this poor kid has a hobby and keeps off the streets more likely and people talk trash, tells me what kind of person you really are! if you can talk about a good kid.
   comment# 20   - art · selma , USA · Feb 17, 2008 @ 9:59am

I would like to see this kid thrown into a school of hungry bull sharks at dusk. Then if he gauges one in the eye, I'll be impressed. Shame that his family seems to be encouraging this behavior and that pic of him on top on the bull shark is sickening.
   comment# 21   - Waldo · Monterey, CA · Apr 15, 2008 @ 7:16am

Waldo are you related to brendan Maas from pennsylvania? Its a shame that you would like to see this kid harmed. Regardless of what he did or did not do to this FISH.
   comment# 22   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska, Texas · Apr 18, 2008 @ 10:15pm

This kid probably just saved some other kid's leg. Bull sharks are highly aggressive beasts of the sea that are known to attack humans (even though we look NOTHING like their food source). So in conclusion, great job kid, keep killing them(Or anything else you come in contact with). I kill every shark that I come in contact with. PS- I am typing this with one hand... a bullshark bit my other arm off. So all you conservationist jerks can stop crying.. Im not
   comment# 23   - Chris · Tampa · Jun 12, 2008 @ 8:38am

I wanted to say CONGRATS to the boy. Everyone else who has all the negative comments are not only uneducated about where any damage to the population comes (ie...China and shark finning) but they seem to be individuals who have self-esteem problems, probably have few accomplishments and last but not least, probably was picked on when they were young, thus they feel the need to be critical to others. I've enjoyed the outdoors all my life and have yet to hear of a single fish that changed the world's population. Why not use your deep supressed issues to focus on the ones truly affecting the population such as the organizations who practice finning for China and for that fact, any groups or individuals who desire the fin soup, NOT A 12 YEAR OLD BOY....That's really sad to see! If you don't like what you see in the mirror, then focus on dealing with your issues and not something like this....It's AMERICA, the land of the FREE, if you don't like it MOVE!!!!
   comment# 24   - Texan · Houston · Jul 2, 2008 @ 4:40pm

i think that it is great. over the summer i caght a 7foot 300 LB bull shark and it was the gratest day ever.
   comment# 25   - greg · glendale · Dec 1, 2008 @ 12:12pm

I caught a 500lb bull shark in 1976. I was on vacation and fished out of hallendale on a boat called the mischeif 2, Ron Khun was the captain. My first adventure into the shark fishing arena. took me 2.5 hours to get her in. They gutted her and then weighed her. I still have the pic's the jaws and the citation. Kudos to the 12 year old who did a better job than I did,lol btw, it was 11.5 feet long, and that is rare. I wanted to get the fish mounted and all they had at the flagler plant was 120" mountings which are mainly made of fiberglass with the jaws and dorsal fin being original. Some how who ever reported this fish for an award said it was only 10 fett long or 120". I was there to know it weighed 500lbs and was 11.5 feet long (weight before gutting) and 11.5 before I decided to get it mounted. Was not experienced in the process of this but will never forget the experience and the facts. I had to weigh all of 118lbs at the time.
   comment# 26   - Bernice P. · Union, New Jersey · Dec 18, 2008 @ 9:54am

what a kook! nice picture of a another human killing mother natures creation just to show a picture on this site, its a shame how we considered this a world record! if you support this record. you deserve to get bit by this water animal!
   comment# 27   - david flores · west palm beach · Feb 21, 2009 @ 8:09am

u people make me sick leave the boy alone. u all would jump at the chance to eat it if u could so hes no more a barbarian then anyone else
   comment# 28   - jeff · indpls. in. · Mar 20, 2009 @ 8:06am

Whats wrong with fishing for sharks. I would go fishing for sharks if i had the chance. I fish all the time you people are stupid find something better to do with your time.
   comment# 29   - joe bean · russia · Apr 7, 2009 @ 2:38pm

I go fishing in the same waters that this fish was caught in. I myself had just released a Bull shark that was over 11' long. I wasn't sure what the record was at the time. Rest assured if I thought it was over the record I would have brought it in. As for you PETA fans I think your ignorant as they come. I believe in the conservation of animals. Not the full out protection of them. For instance, if hunting deer was made illegal crops would be destroyed. Then the deer, because of overpopulation, would become malnurished. Disease would spread througout the herd. Eventually killing off thousands. That would be much better way for the deer to die than being hunted under regulations. WALDO just because some 12 year old catches a fish and gets his picture with it, doesn't mean that you should wish harm upon him. If your kid steps on a fire ant does that mean he should be thrown into an fire ant hill and seen if he could come out unharmed. Leave the boy alone and let him enjoy his accomplishment. Trust me there are plenty of bull sharks left in the waters off Palm Beach inlet. If you don't beleive me just come on down and take a swim. I'll make you up a brand new steak swim suit you can wear..
   comment# 30   - Brandon · West Palm Beach, Florida · Apr 8, 2009 @ 8:10am

You know the whole point aboout this story is the fact that this is not just one person killing a bull shark but this boy is not alone and so it is not just ONE bull shark - it is hundreds over the fishing season depleting the seas even further of one more species of shark. I am not really interested in how old the perpetrator is or how keen a fisherman it is just not appropriate now to kill any creature unless for food. To hang another trophy on the wall is ludicruous abd as fir the poking out of its eyes whilst still alive - well if this boy feels no remorse for doing that and inflicting pain then we should be watching out for him when he is old enough to be given a gun! Sometimes I am ashamed of the human race not least this time. I fished with my own father for years and years when I was young and we never killed unless to eat the fish and we never took trophies because our stories about our catches were received with just as much enthusiasm as a picture of a dead fish!
   comment# 31   - carol frayne · macon, ga · Aug 28, 2009 @ 5:05am

I personally am thankful for his catch. And quite impressed. I ran into that same shark before off the coast 2 years ago. It was in 8ft of water right where I swim in front of donald trumps place. Luckily, I was in a boat that day...bullsharks are scary and eat anything...including your small children swimming at the beach. In shark land, the rule is KILL OR BE KILLED. Bullsharks eat themselves....Don't be idiots.
   comment# 32   - jacqueline · miami fl · Dec 29, 2009 @ 6:22pm

Jacqueline why dont we knock off a few two legged animals they do some pretty unmentional things to there kind what makes you any better than any other animal on this least they are not stuffing it like the more "intelligent"lifeform here...
   comment# 33   - Ken · New zealand · May 30, 2011 @ 1:13am

Boys will be boys. I do however spend a lot of time swimming in the ocean with my small kids. We have had sharks swim right by us. They are not interested in us. If you see birds hitting the water get out. We have thousands of sharks swimming through going north in April. Just don't just into the middle of them. I do feel saddened by wasting a beautiful animal. Dead meat. Good hunters never kill Just to kill. And not femals. It's sad. Hopefully the boy will stop.
   comment# 34   - Marie · Palm Beach Florida · Jul 13, 2011 @ 8:03pm

First off to all the would be "tree huggers" out there fishermen and hunters a the greatest contributors to the protection of our wildlife so shut your mouths. Also as several people have mentioned already the boy is 12, and I can remember when i was the same way but he will learn an he doesnt need people like some of you giving him a hard time for doing what he enjoys. I agree that we must protect wildlife but i am an avid outdoorsman and i personally have killed a few sharks in my time as a saltwater fisherman all of which were eaten so carol you can just stay quiet bout that. To the young man who caught the fish congratulations on an excellent catch you should be proud few people can claim such at your age. I would hope that you understand that though you have been lucky enough to accomplish this you are also responsible for helping things remain good for your children and theirs after them. So cherish time spent in the outdoors and protect it. And finally all of you who talked down to or wish harm on that boy should be sorely ashamed of yourselves hurting a poor kid doesnt bring the shark back but teaching him to protect them will prevent it from happening in the future so next time before you do something like that again use ur brain.
   comment# 35   - Jeff · Talladega Alabama · Aug 7, 2011 @ 10:19pm

Well if you all want to worry about pain that hurts why don't you use all your senseless animal rights crap...spend a little of your energy saving the unborn that are tortured every day by abortion then worry about one overpopulated aggressive fish...God put the animals here for food and don't get me wrong the law does need to protect the endangered so there is not useless killing...i get that but the unborn is murder unless the woman is endangered...most people don't know that there are more couples that want to adopt than their are abortions.
   comment# 36   - terri · USA · Aug 19, 2011 @ 5:12pm

I hope he goes for a swim and gets bitten in half by a bill shark it's what cruelty like he's shown to them warrants.
   comment# 37   - Alex · Australia · Jun 8, 2012 @ 6:52pm

Way to go Aidan !!! This is an accomplishment that you can be proud of all your life. Excellent !!!
   comment# 38   - John Crowley · Seattle, WA USA · Apr 10, 2013 @ 10:08pm

Should have let her go. Take pics and let them go.I have caught many big bull sharks and probably a few that would break the texas state record but no way I would feel right killing one just for the glory of holding some record that don't mean jack squat.
   comment# 39   - Capt.Steve · Pottsboro,usa · Aug 20, 2013 @ 10:25am
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