It was 7:30 a.m. at the Crystal Beach pier in Destin, Fla. when 11-year-old Terry Burnett first saw the shark's fin cutting the water. Terry—all 51 pounds of him—scooted for his tackle and hooked the shark on his second cast. "He started going up and down the pier [650 feet long]," Terry says, "and me with him. About half a dozen times, I guess." The boy's big worry was that his 200 yards of 50-pound test line might not do the job. "My daddy always told me not to horse 'em in. So I didn't; I played him." Terry got help from the 50 onlookers only when the shark headed toward the pier's pilings. "I didn't want him to get tangled, so I'd yell 'Stomp!' " Each time the crowd would stomp its feet, and the shark would retreat.
At 9 a.m. an elated Terry brought the 500-pound shark to the side of the pier, and 10 men dragged it onto the beach. "My daddy warned me about being in the water where sharks are," Terry conceded, "but he never said anything against hooking 'em."