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Teen lands record catch

AUG. 15 — A Massachusetts teenager broke the world record Saturday for the largest blue shark caught by a girl age 16 or younger.

Melissa Ciolek, who is 15 and of South Hadley, spent 40 minutes fighting a 364-pound blue shark 20 miles off Martha’s Vineyard, news reports say. It was Ciolek’s first offshore expedition for sharks. International Game Fish Association officials need to ratify the new record.

“It was quite exciting and I am really, really proud of my daughter,” Michael Ciolek, 45, says in a report. “I had chills once we had the fish under control and on the boat.

Melissa Ciolek, a junior member of IGFA, had to reel in the shark by herself to qualify for the world record, reports say. The previous record was a 123-pounder caught off New Bedford, Mass., in 2005, according to reports. The family says it videotaped the experience and planned to send it to officials as documentation of the catch.

“She brought in a big one,” Bill Hubbard, the Hook-Up bait and tackle shop (Orleans, Mass.) employee who weighed the fish, says in a report. “It’s the biggest one we have weighed so far this summer.”

— Jason Fell