Footage of Elliot Sudal wrestling a shark on a Nantucket beach has gone viral. However, this was hardly the first time the 24-year-old fisherman had an encounter of the sort.
"I've been a fisherman my whole life," Sudal, who has caught and released about 100 sharks in the past eight months, told CNN. "It's almost like a drug -- I got used to catching bigger and bigger fish."
On Sunday, Sudal and his cousins were catching bluefish when he decided he wanted to go for a bigger catch.
"That particular shark took about 45 minutes to get in," he said. "It was probably 7 feet long and 200 pounds."
Once he led the shark to the beach he said he kept it there for about a minute before putting it back in the ocean.
"I always let them go. I'm not trying to hurt the sharks," he said.
The fisherman explained that he caught as many as five sharks a day when he lived in Florida, but now that he moved to Nantucket he's received a lot of criticism for his shark-wrestling ways. He said he's got over 100 calls and messages from people he's never met offering both praise and criticism for his hobby.
But the environmental science grad said he supports conservation efforts and wouldn't really harm the animals.
"I just played around with this guy," he said. "I love the feeling -- it's like a connection with the animal."