Texas Father & Son ‘Shocked’ After Their Rare Catch Wasn’t A Massive Shark

By Dani Medina

October 18, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

A father and son duo made a shocking catch in the midst of a fishing tournament. What they thought was a massive shark turned out to be a huge manta ray!

Daniel Arispe and his son were competing in Sharkathon, a Texas Gulf Fishing Tournament at Padre Island National Seashore, on October 14, according to MySanAntonio. Thirty minutes after dropping their line, the reel took off and Arispe's son began to try and reel in what they thought was a shark. The "shark" was fighting back — hard — and Arispe thought it could have been a 12-foot shark. After 45 minutes of fighting, they realized it was actually a manta ray when it leapt out of the ocean.

Manta rays are protected, so Arispe said he knew "we needed to land it and get that hook out and then release it," he said. It took about two hours to land the massive manta ray. Before manta rays could be released, however, Sharkathon was required to contact biologists at the National Park Service of what they found. It's not required for fishermen to report an incidental catch, but the tournament was required to state all incidental captures to report the information to the NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. After they alerted NPS, Arispe and his son released the manta ray back into the ocean without a hitch.

The manta ray was a big one — a whopping 9-feet wingspan and weighed about 600 pounds. "(My son) later realized that, 'Wow, this may never happen again.' Catching a manta ray on the beach is like catching lightning in a bottle. You know, it just doesn't happen. It was big, beautiful and enormous. We were both excited and kind of shocked," Arispe said.

You can watch a video of the catch below:

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