North Myrtle Beach Myths

Big fish

Most fish stories tend to be whoppers, but this one is well documented and probably mostly true. Only the part about the epic struggle between man and fish relies on the eyewitness accounts of multiple semi-hysterical spectators.

A couple fishing buddies were fishing at the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier in North Myrtle Beach on June 14, 1964. The friends were out to snag a shark and they rigged up small ray fish on big hooks. One of them rowed out a short distance from the end of the pier to drop the bait.

Soon a school of small sharks moved in, and behind that first wave came larger sharks that were snapping the heavy gauge fishing lines. The guys were taking hits on multiple lines and Walter Maxwell was watching his friends when his own line took a hard hit about 90 feet from the end of the pier.

The beast slammed Maxwell against the pier and lifted him off his feet. His friends had to hold onto him to keep him from going over the rail. He inserted his rod into the plate of his harness, and was slammed repeatedly into the pier during the struggle. The creature took nearly all the line, and Maxwell's buddies poured water on a red-hot reel that was literally smoking.

When Maxwell's shark broke the surface, it brought a group gasp from the assembled spectators. A crowd assembled, shouting advice and encouragement, and a five-hour battle of wills ensued. The sun had set by the time Maxwell brought the shark alongside the pier, and there was no way he was going to be able to hoist it out of the water. He and his friends secured it with ropes to the pilings.

In the morning a new world record was declared when several men hauled in the Tiger Shark and weighed it at a whopping 1,780 pounds, a world record that stood for the next half century.

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