Monday was a busy day for the weighmaster at the 70th Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo and for the second time in three days the most talked about fish was a bull shark. Brett Rutledge brought in his second record-setting shark in three days, this time a 354-pound, 4-ounce bull shark that bumped Saturday’s 276-pound, 14-ounce catch out of first place.
Both fish surpassed the previous Mississippi state record of just over 210 pounds; the new pending state record is awaiting certification, which would mean $20,000 in prize money.
“It’ll be awesome,” Rutledge said. “I hope it holds up.”
Rutledge said he and his team were fishing about 25 miles south of Dauphin Island when they caught the fish just after 4 a.m. Monday. He said he held the fish on the line for about 45 minutes before getting it aboard.
“Actually I had the easy part, reeling the shark up to the boat,” Rutledge said. “Connor Blake and David Rogers and his son Derek did the hard part.”
Rutledge said that after catching the 276-pound fish Saturday, they were committed to going back out to fish for a larger bull shark.
“We fished for four days going after the shark,” Rutledge said. “After catching the one on Saturday, we knew we wanted to go after a bigger one. So we went back out to try to catch a bigger one, and we did.”
Spectators got a look at the difficulty of handling the fish as a tow truck struggled to get it out of the boat.
“We hear a lot of talk in the fishing world, lot of people talking about their big shark,” said weighmaster Mark Wright. “When we laid eyes on him down in the boat, it was sure enough a big shark. The wrecker truck couldn’t hardly move him out. We had to use the backhoe to lift him out of the boat. He was so big.
“The crowd was just in awe,” Wright added. “I’ve seen a lot of sharks here around the fishing rodeo, but that was probably the biggest bull shark I’ve ever laid eyes on.”
Rodeo Executive Director Donnie Ames said Rutledge told him that he was going to bring back a bigger bull shark.
“He was right at 99 inches long and a 55-inch girth,” Ames said. “He said he was going back and bring a bigger one, and he did.”
The Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo concludes Tuesday with a 4 p.m. weighing deadline.
Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo
Leader Board through Monday
Barracuda 16 pounds, 1 ounce: Baylee Watts, Satsuma, Ala.
Black Drum, 41 pounds, 12 ounces: David McGill, Pass Christian
Black Fish, 15 pounds, 4 ounces: Robert Hall, Pass Christian
Blue Fish, 2 pounds, 10 ounces: Jordan Mathews, Biloxi
Bonita, 11 pounds: Jordan Mathews, Biloxi
Dolphin, 6 pounds, 10 ounces: Corin Knight
Flounder, 3 pounds, 6 ounces: Pamela Broussard, Biloxi
Gar, 81 pounds, 12 ounces: Blaine Slay, Pascagoula
Jack Crevalle, 28 pounds, 9 ounces: Ryan Rockholt, Biloxi
King Mackerel, 35 pounds, 12 ounces: Jordan Mathews, Biloxi
Lemon Fish, 58 pounds, 11 ounces: Walter Watts, Satsuma, Ala.
Mangrove Snapper, 17 pounds, 5 ounces: Brett Rutledge, Mobile
Pompana, 2 pounds, 10 ounces: Eddie Kopszya, Ocean Springs
Red Fish, 33 pounds, 9 ounces: David Saucier, Gufport
Red Snapper, 22 pounds, 11 ounces: Mason East, Saucier
Sheepshead, 5 pounds, 13 ounces: J.L. McNew, Ocean Springs
Shark (Bull Shark), 354 pounds, 4 ounces (pending record): Brett Rutledge, Mobile
Spanish Mackerel, 3 pounds, 7 ounces: Dustin McGill, Gulfport
Speckled Trout, 6 pounds, 14 ounces: Ben Negus, Grand Bay, Ala.
Stingray, 112 pounds, 5 ounces: Tito Lopez, Carriere
Bream, 1 pound, 10 ounces: Bradley Smith, Saucier
Catfish, 32 pounds, 15 ounces: Amanda Dedeaux, Perkinston
Crappie, 2 pounds, 5 ounces: Mike Babuchna, Vancleave
Green Trout, 8 pounds, 5 ounces: Lee Johnson, Saucier