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10-year-old catches record-breaking shark off Washington coast

Isabella Tolen, 10, caught this 41-pound shark at Ocean Shores, setting a state record. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Facebook)

An intrepid 10-year-old made state history when she caught a record-breaking shark in Ocean Shores last week.

While out fishing for sharks with her parents and brother, Lake Stevens resident Isabella Tolen caught a 41-pound tope shark.

RELATED: Man who caught 45-pound catfish in Green Lake may yet have state record

Isabella had a hunch as soon as she felt the tug on her line that this was no ordinary shark.

“We know this is a shark that’s gonna break the world or the state record,” she said.

After luring the shark with salmon belly as bait, the youngster spent 15 minutes fighting to reel in the shark.

“You have to reel really hard — it feels like you’re getting dragged on a ski rope,” she said.

The record-breaking shark is not her only catch — in the past, she caught a 20-pound Chinook salmon.

Isabella has been fishing her entire life. As a baby, “my dad and mom put me in a bucket on the boat,” she explained.

Fishing is a passion for the entire family — dad Darryl Tolen, a Washington State Patrol trooper, saves his vacation time all year to go fishing on the coast with his family during salmon season.

“We come down for as much time as we can and spend just about every day on the water fishing during the season,” he said.

Seeing his children develop a passion for his own favorite hobbies warms Darryl’s heart.

“When we get the fish on the boat, and either Isabella or my son are looking down at the fish, [it’s] a pretty good sense of accomplishment for me as a parent to see my kid taking part in something I enjoy,” she said.

Isabella does not have a phone and would rather spend her time being active outdoors than staring at a screen. When she isn’t fishing, she’s speeding down the street on her bike, playing in the fort she and her brother built at Ocean Shores, and running around with her neighbor friends.

And despite the fact that the shark, from head to tail fin, is taller than she is, courageous Isabella is not scared of sharks.

“The shark is not interested in me, it’s interested in salmon,” she said.

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