A group of anglers, including crew from the Outdoor Channel show Jim Shockey’s The Professionals, hooked the catch of their lives 15 miles off California’s Huntington Beach.
Drawn by the scent of sardine chum, a “nightmarishly” large mako shark approached the anglers’ boat and initiated a battle that took over two hours and nearly a quarter-mile of line before the shark was brought boat-side. According to KTLA, the Monday catch measured in at 11 feet long, eight feet in girth, and was initially estimated to be over 1,300 pounds. In fact, the gigantic fish over-weighed the first scale the crew took it to and had to be moved to another weigh yard. The final weight came in at a staggering 1,323 pounds, more than enough to oust the previous record held by a 1,221-pound mako landed by Luke Sweeney in 2001.
“It’s unreal. This thing is definitely a killing machine,” said Jason Johnston, one of the anglers. “Any wrong step and I could have went out of the boat and to the bottom of the ocean.”
The shortfin mako is considered by many to be the fastest species of shark, capable of reaching up to 31 mph at a steady pace and being able to swim in much faster bursts nearing 47 mph. A popular game fish, mako sharks can also jump high into the air. This is especially common when hooked and has led to not a few surprised anglers with an irate mako on their boat. Makos are also highly aggressive and known to attack humans, although like other sharks they generally do not consider people prey.
“The best way to hook a shortfin mako shark is by trolling with a whole tuna, squid or mackerel,” the California Department of Fish and Wildlife advised on its website. “You can also use lures, and chumming does help. Watch out when you catch one because this is a dangerous fish that will not hesitate to attack you or your boat.”
“It’s basically like a giant nightmare swimming around,” said Corey Knowlton, an expert outdoorsman and one of the hosts of Jim Shockley’s The Professionals.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the fish is now being held by New Fishall Bait Co. for processing before the fish is donated to researchers for study. Currently the anglers are waiting for confirmation from the International Game Fish Association, the authority on fishing records.
“It’s just like any other fishing,” said the captain of the charter boat, Captain Matt Potter. “The state limit for mako is two per person per day. We only kept one mako for a total of 18 passengers out there three days.”
The 1,323-pound mako was the only shark kept from the fishing trip, all other makos were released.
Video taken of the shark after the catch can be seen below: