Texas man snags "bucket list" 12-foot tiger shark off Padre Island

By Amanda Cochran - Social Media Producer
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(Team Turn'em At The Knot/Doris Smith/Lisa Teel)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Kevin Karwedsky knows how to make his mom anxious at the beach.

The avid fisherman reeled in a massive, 12-foot tiger shark in front of her on Sunday on Padre Island.

“She was screaming my name a couple of times,” Karwedsky said. “I was like, ‘Mom, calm down. I got this.’ She was in shock.”

PHOTOS: Man catches 12-foot shark on Padre Island

The short photo shoot of the 35-year-old fisherman atop his “bucket list” catch was the result of a four-hour battle between man and fish.

After hooking the shark around 5 a.m., five men eventually carried the massive fish ashore for a few photos and measurements.

Those measurements were 12 feet and 7 and a half inches, and around 1,000 pounds.

“She’s definitely a big girl. Just a gorgeous fish,” Karwedsky said. “I spent 10 years waiting on that shark. It’s always been on the top of the list. A big tiger. That was my first tiger -- and for her to be that big … definitely amazing.”

Karwedsky said he tried to make a quick work of his catch on shore to avoid hurting the animal.

“I missed a couple of measurements,” he said. “We don’t want to cause her no harm. Push her back in the water. Tag and release -- we didn’t have any tags. It’s a crying shame we didn’t have any this time. They use it for research at Texas A&M.”

Karwedsky said he spent about 20 minutes swimming with the shark to make sure she was OK before she swam off.

“I’m a shark lover. I don’t want hurt these animals. This is a sport we love. … There are cases where you do everything where the shark dies,” Karwedsky explained. “We donate the meat or use it ourselves. But for us, it’s all about the conservation of our sport.”

Karwedsky, who lives in Campbellton, Texas, has fished all his life on the island, but in the past decade, he has come a long way from his first fishing photos, back when he was in diapers and wielding a Snoopy fishing pole.

Karwedsky is now part of a team of fishermen – Turn’em at the Knot -- who live for the thrill of the next big shark catch off the Texas coast.

Sunday's catch was particularly powerful for Karwedsky because his family was there, including his brother, Russell Karwedsky,  

“It was a big moment for both of us,” Karwedsky said. “(But) I’m going to move on. Any shark that bites the hook is welcome. But the next is the hammerhead.”

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