Image via South Texas Fishing Association/ Facebook

A Texas shark fisherman reeled in this colossal 14-foot hammerhead shark — but the moment was bittersweet.

Poco Cedillo took to Facebook to share the incredible encounter, which he described as the “shark catch of multiple lifetimes.” In a post shared by the South Texas Fishing Association, he recalled fighting with the shark for an hour and 15 minutes before he and his fellow fishermen noticed that the hammerhead was starting to get tired.

“We quickly took pics, got a length measurement, took the hook out and did all we could to get her released,” wrote Cedillo. “All that took only around 3-5 minutes while it [was] still in plenty deep water.”

Cedillo said their main goal was to release the shark as quickly as possible, but they were unfortunately unsuccessful. He shared a (now removed) video of him and three others trying to release the shark back to the big blue, but the ordeal ended up being too stressful for the animal.

“After 30-40 min of us holding her up into the current in 3-4’ of water we were faced with accepting the fact that she was done. We were so tired, shark rashed and disappointed that it sucked the excitement right out of us for a while,” said Cedillo.

The fisherman expressed his remorse and wanted to let others know that he did not kill the beautiful beast intentionally. Once he realized the shark couldn’t be saved, Cedillo said he made sure to save the meat and donate it to a local soup kitchen.

“People that know me know that I release every single shark I catch so this hurts,” he lamented. “Catching this fish of a lifetime and it not making it totally sucks for me.”

The post has generated an intense debate with some commenters angered by the animal’s death.

“Everyone is commenting how this group was so noble trying to save this sharks life, here’s my thought, had they not been sport fishing, that shark wouldn’t have died that day,” wrote one user.

However, fellow fishermen and proponents of the sport quickly came to Cedillo’s defense:

“Hats off to you fellow fishing buddy! Congratulations on the catch! I know what it’s like to try and revive a fish that ends up passing. From perch to shark, it’s hard sometimes. Especially in warm water. Had the exact thing happen with a 3-4 pound bass today.”

“There was nothing illegal or immoral here,” another commenter wrote. ” In fact he donated all of the meat to feed the less fortunate.”

Join the conversation: