GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas -- Talk about one that got away.
Roger Proulx lives in Bayou Vista in one of those houses with a boat slip out back. And yes, he loves fishing, goes out on the water maybe once every week.
One other thing: He fishes for sharks.
Proulx went fishing on Saturday morning and got the biggest bite he had ever felt from a seven-foot black tip shark that he figured weighed about 200 pounds. His big catch became the fight of his life with a fish that dragged his kayak miles into the Gulf.
“Well, I didn’t know it was a shark at the time,” Proulx said. “My line just bent right in half. And I was enjoying it. I was so happy, I was like, ‘Oh yes, this is great.’”
He enjoyed it until he glanced back to shore and noticed the buildings looked tiny on the horizon.
“The thing is, it started setting the drag a little tighter and all of a sudden my kayak starts going deeper and deeper, like into the middle of the ocean,” Proulx recalled. “So then I started going, ‘Holy smokes. This is unbelievable. This is crazy.”
He managed to pull his kayak next to the fish. Using a couple of reference points on the boat, he later pinpointed its length at seven feet, one inch.
“I’m like six inches from the water,” he said. “He could have just hit the boat, slapped me with his tail and I’m flipped over in the water. And then we got some issues.”
Some fishermen might have simply cut the line and given up. But Proulx had dreams of bringing the shark ashore, tying it to the top of his truck, getting it stuffed and hanging it on the wall for bragging rights.
So he tied the line to the kayak, then grabbed his paddle and started rowing back to shore. The shark tried to swim out into the Gulf. The battle became a tug of war between a man and a shark.
Then, he said, about a half-mile from the shore, his line snapped.
“Aw, man, I lost him,” Proulx said. “And I’ve got nothing to show. I wanted to bring it home to the wife and kids to just show them. And this would’ve been a trophy fish.”
Galveston’s beach patrol eventually picked him up – without his trophy shark.
“It was the best experience I’ve ever had in my whole entire life,” he said. “It was crazy.”
A lesser man might be frightened into a safer hobby, like fishing for grouper or raising tropical fish in an aquarium. However, Proulx planned to head back out into the Gulf for another sharking expedition.
Next time, he said he may take some friends.
And next time, he admits, he’s going to need a bigger boat.