‘Is this thing gonna pull me in’: 12-year-old fisherman reels in great white shark

A 12-year-old boy vacationing in Florida with his family caught a 130-inch long shark. (Source: WSVN, fisherman handout)
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 8:06 PM EST
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) – The Keenan family has quite a tale to tell after their 12-year-old son caught a great white shark while fishing off the coast of Florida.

Campbell Keenan loves to fish. He and his family went fishing while on vacation in Fort Lauderdale when something big snagged his line.

“When we first started reeling it in and took out drag, I was like, ‘Is this thing gonna pull me in?’” he said.

Colleen Keenan, Campbell’s mom, said the others on the boat had to hold onto him to make sure he wasn’t pulled off the boat.

“He had to hold on to the reel and he was strapped in but not really, so that was scary,” she said.

Campbell sat and continued to fight with the help of boat captains Paul Palucci and David Jackson.

“It took a lot, it took 45 minutes to an hour to catch it,” Palucci said. “We knew we had something pretty substantial from the initial bite, it took about 300 yards out.”

Jackson said they were planning to fight until the fight was over.

”It just so happened it was a great white,” Jackson said.

Colleen Keenan said she was excited for her son because of his love of fishing.

“Once we found out it was a great white, we went through the roof,” she said.

A fisherman reeled it in to take the line out of its mouth, measure it and tag it.

They tagged the shark so experts could study her migration patterns. And then they let her go.

“Feels very accomplishing,” Campbell said. “The biggest fish I ever caught before was a 25-inch striper. This was a 130-inch great white shark.”