If you're looking to answer this question between the old man and the sharks, I'd say that the old man wins in the end, because he gets home and survives. There's a sense of triumph in the end, even though he loses his fish. To me, it comes in the fact that people have missed him and the boy comes looking for him. They have noticed that he was gone and even though it's only a couple of people that are worried about him, there's something to be said for that. Plus, he gains some respect from the folks on the beach that stopped believing in him when they see the skeleton of the fish with his boat. Being fishermen, they know what it would take to bring a fish like that in.