Fishermen catch 12-foot hammerhead shark off Florida beach

Fishermen caught the shark just 100 yards from the beach in Sanibel Island, Florida.

CBS Miami

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. -- Several fishermen recently reeled in a 12-foot hammerhead shark on the shoreline of a beach in Florida, CBS Miami reports.

Joe Pope and his friends caught the shark just 100 yards from the beach in Sanibel Island on Friday night.

"Something just nailed one of our baits. As soon as we set into it, we just knew it was something huge," Pope said. "It's a fish of a lifetime when you get something like that."

Beachgoers were stunned after learning that such a large shark was caught so close to shore. They said they were nervous about going into the water.

"I may go out up to my knees tomorrow, that's it," said Jen Elkins.  

Experts say more people in the water at Florida beaches is a recipe for increased contacts with sharks.

Researchers documented 35 shark attacks in Florida in 2016. The state of Florida has more shark attacks in recorded history than all other states combined.

"They're out in the water already. People forget it, you could see from the sky, they're swimming around you," shark angler Richard Jones said.

Since it is illegal to keep a hammerhead shark, Pope immediately released it after snapping a few photos.