Fishing

Beaufort teen reels in world-record shark

mmccombs@beaufortgazette.comOctober 11, 2012 

Carter Wells shows off his world-record catch.

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Carter Wells thought he was in trouble.

The Beaufort Middle School eighth-grader had Googled himself in class on Wednesday and was showing off the results to his classmates when his teacher confiscated his iPad and took it to the front of the class.

But instead of punishment, Wells was in for praise.

"She found it on her computer and put it up for the whole class to see," Wells said.

Carter Wells, three-time world record holder.

Wells, 13, was notified Tuesday that he had been certified by the International Game Fish Association for three world records for a 28-pound bonnethead shark he caught June 28 on the Halifax River in Port Orange, Fla.

Wells' records are for the categories of All-Tackle, Male-Junior and Men's 30-pound test line class.

"I thought, like, maybe it was going to be a record when I was fighting it," said Wells, who said he's having the fish mounted.

Randy Wells, Chris' father and the Burton assistant fire chief, said the Wells family was in Florida for a vacation with extended family when Carter caught the record shark. They chartered a fishing boat, but their group was so large, they had to split into two boats.

"It was me, Carter and my daughter Jessica in our boat with a guide," Randy Wells said. "It was one of the last couple of fish we pulled in."

Randy Wells said they were fishing for redfish along the sea walls when Doghouse skipper Chris Scaccia asked if they wanted to do some shark fishing.

The record almost wasn't Carter's.

"The first one we caught was a pretty good size," Randy Wells said. "My daughter pulled in a 20- to 24-pounder, a big one."

But the next one was Carter's.

"The guide said, 'That's a big one,' before he even had it in the boat," Randy Wells said. "Carter fought it for about 20 minutes."

When he had finally reeled in the fish, Scaccia said they needed to check to see if it was a record.

"We were very proud of him," Randy Wells said. "He fought the fish all by himself. We've never experienced anything like this."

Scaccia weighed the shark on a certified scale, finding it bettered the previous record by two pounds.

To certify the record, Scaccia had to send the IGFA a plethora of materials -- photos and measurements of the fish, the hook, a sample of the line, a certified weigh slip and sworn testimony.

"They had to test the line and make sure we were all within IGFA rules," Scaccia told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "After they looked at everything, it was sent to another IGFA committee for final approval."

Then came the wait. It took nearly four months. Carter Wells, 12 when the fish was caught, turned 13.

Then finally, the news came Tuesday. Not one, but three world records.

"That amazed me," Randy Wells said. "I'd settle for one, he got three."

Carter Wells will receive world-record certificates for his catch, and Scaccia will get a captain's certificate. Carter Wells will be listed in the next edition of the IGFA record book, as well.

"This is awesome," Scaccia said. "I am really excited for Carter."

Carter Wells said he wanted to go back to Florida for his next fishing trip.

"The fishing is good," he said, stating the obvious.

His father, jokingly, had different advice.

"I told him, 'You better quit while you're ahead.' "

The Daytona Beach News-Journal contributed to this report.

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