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“We put that bait out and it wasn’t even 10 minutes before the rod started clicking,” she said. “I was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and decided I was going to finish my sandwich. It was a pretty easy fight compared to a lot of sharks I’ve caught. It didn’t jump out of the water like a lot of spinners do, but she did do some head shaking.”
The Colwells are veteran shark anglers and well-versed in shark identification. And Nicole knew the state record was 171 pounds.
They weren’t able to get the shark into the boat so they towed it back to the marina. On the way back, Nicole closely examined the shark to confirm that it was a spinner. The dock at Edisto Marina didn’t have a certified scale, but using a length-girth formula they knew the shark was a potential record-breaker. So they loaded the shark back into their boat and trailered it to Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, which had a certified scale.
Because it was a Sunday, they were unable to find a biologist to confirm the record and they couldn’t find a place in the Charleston area to store the fish. So Nicole took videos and photos of the shark and then iced it down and headed back to the Greenville area. Her father called a friend in Greenville who owns a restaurant and happened to have a vacant walk-in freezer.
The following day, Nicole spoke to S.C. Department of Natural Resources shark biologist Bryan Frazier and sent him the videos and photos and later confirmed the catch through SCDNR biologist Amy Dukes.
“Strangely, DNR is doing a research project on spinner sharks and Bryan was up here camping the next weekend and he came by and got some samples,” Nicole said. “So it’s really cool to be part of a research project, too. It was a really crazy couple of days and (a state record is) something I’ve wanted for a very, very long time.”