Mobile man hauls in prize money with certified bull shark record

Brett Rutledge of Mobile has a little more pocket change to jingle.

The fisherman landed a 354-pound, 4-ounce bull shark on July 3 at the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.

The shark shattered the old record of 203 pounds, set in 2016.

With the Commission on Marine Resources certifying the new state record Tuesday, Rutledge earned $20,000 in prize money for the record, which was sponsored by the rodeo.

“The crowd was just in awe,” Weighmaster Mark Wright said after the shark was brought in on July 3. “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.”

Rutledge and his team were fishing about 25 miles south of Dauphin Island when the shark hit the line, he told the Sun Herald.

Now that the bull shark is certified, Rutledge will have to take a polygraph saying he was the only person who fought the shark to bring it in. Once that’s done and paperwork is submitted, the insurance company will issue the $20,000 check.

Rodeo president Ritchie Valdez said a check presentation will be made at Barksdale Pavillion, where the rodeo was held over the July 4 weekend.

Kate Magandy: 228-896-2344, @kmagandy