(NEW YORK) — Shark wrangler Elliot Sudal reeled in quite a catch earlier this week: Vice president Mike Pence.
Sudal was on Sanibel Island, Florida, where he spent over 11 hours Wednesday trying to reel in a mystery creature that weighed hundreds of pounds. He was taking part in fishing trip that was raising money for the Zonta Woman’s Group of Sanibel.
Sudal’s efforts to snag something began to attract passers-by — including Pence.
“Regardless of your political views, it’s pretty wild when the Vice President of the United States and his family swing by to fish with you… and you’re hooked into the fish of a lifetime,” Sudal wrote on Instagram and Facebook, alongside a photo of himself with Pence.
In an interview with ABC News, Sudal recalled, “I was running out of line on the reel, so I hooked up another reel to the kayak, got towed out until I could gain some back.”
Eventually, though, Sudal snagged quite a catch: “After 11 hours and 10 minutes we finally land this 13+ foot male Smalltooth Sawfish,” he wrote on Facebook. “It was quickly tagged and released, swam off strong and healthy.”
Sudal tells ABC News that the vice president even lent a hand in an effort to identify the creature he was struggling with. Pence asked his Secret Service boats try to scan what the beast was with their sonar scanners.
Sudal says the experience was his most demanding, even more so than the eight days he spent adrift life raft 30 miles off Puerto Rico for a National Geographic reality show.
“The most physically taxing experience of my life, hands are covered in blisters and could barely walk today,” Sudal wrote on Facebook. “Sawfish are listed as critically endangered and are very rare to catch … amazing animal, amazing experience.”
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