When Charles Hiers and his 19-year-old son, Ryan, left Skull Creek Marina on Hilton Head Island on Sunday, they had no idea what they were in for.
The Hiers, who moved to the island in July, were roughly eight miles offshore when they hooked a 9-foot tiger shark that weighed an estimated 350 to 400 pounds.
“We were just bottom fishing,” the elder Hiers said. “We thought we might catch a shark, but nothing like this.”
Hiers said it took the pair an hour and a half to bring the shark onto their 25-foot boat. Unsure of what to do, he got in touch with the marina and was told to bring the fish in.
But those plans didn’t work out.
“We weren’t expecting to catch anything that big,” Hiers said. “It took us so long to bring it in, by the time we got back, they were closed.”
Hiers said he and his son “brought the fish in, (cut) it up, did the best we could and disposed of it.”
Having grown up in Savannah, Hiers said these waters were not totally unfamiliar to him. But he’d never had a catch like this.
“No sir, not even close,” he said. “We were not prepared.”
For the sake of comparison, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources cites the state record for a tiger shark at 1,780 pounds. It was caught in 1964 by a Charlotte man and brought into the Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach.