Gather 'round on the magic carpet, kids, it's story time! What do you want to hear today? Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Sleeping Beauty?
Please, Lady! Tell us the story of Old Hitler!
You got it, kids:
"Although the exact origins of Old Hitler's legend are likely lost in the annals of bait-shack folklore, as long as their have been sports fishermen seeking tarpon along the Gulf coast, there have been tales of those fishermen losing their trophy-sized silver kings to the dreaded jaws of a mythical creature.
As the Gulf coast of Florida began to become more populated, rumors of a giant hammerhead floated up and down the coast. It was purportedly so big that ship captains and fishermen would call the local coastguard to alert them to a German U-boat invading the harbor.
'Old Hitler happened to be the biggest, baddest hammerhead in the Pass during or shortly after WWII,' said long-time Charlotte tarpon guide Paul DeGaeta.
There have always been large sharks along Florida's coast, but this one stood out. The legend revolved around one gigantic shark that had a large gash in its top fin, an injury it sustained after a rumored run-in with a mullet fisherman sometime in the early sixties. The fisherman struck the shark with a machete after the creature mauled a net full of fish and began bumping the 15-foot vessel with its flat head. The hammerhead swam away with the large knife still embedded in its dorsal fin."
That's probably the most quoted text I've ever posted here. But it was so worth it. I freakin' love a good shark story, and this is one of the most badass sharks of all. He withstood a machete. People thought it was a U-boat. I hear he ate Chuck Norris.
Also, his name is Old Hitler. It makes sense if he was hanging around during WWII, but still--how weird is that?
Unfortunately, all evil dictatorships must come to an end. No, Old Hitler didn't shoot himself in his sea-bunker. He was caught by shark angler Clyde "Bucky" Dennis. Dennis already had the International Game Fish Association's all-tackle record, having caught a hammerhead weighing in at 1,280 pounds, so it was a worthy battle.
And everyone lived happily ever after. Except for Hitler.