Two cousins from Milton, Florida are in the spotlight after they reeled in a 11-foot, 805-pound shortfin mako shark from a beach last Tuesday. According to the Penasacola News Journal, Joey and Earnie Polk’s recent catch may be in the running for the heaviest mako shark taken from land.
“That’s probably the best fish we ever caught,” Earnie Polk said. “You’ll spend many, many hours to catch a fish of that caliber or a fish of that size.”
You can watch an interview with Joey Polk below:
The cousins have already submitted the proper paperwork to the International Land-Based Shark Fishing Association, where their names are very familiar. Earnie and Joey Polk hold three world records with the Association, including the catch and release of a 949-pound tiger shark.
The Polks did not initially seek media attention over the 805-pound mako harvest, but a photo posted to Facebook of the shark in the bed of a pickup soon went viral. The photo also became controversial, especially among those who believed the anglers should have released the mako. The Polks claim that the shark had become exhausted after the fight to bring it near shore and could not be released. The mako should translate to about 600 pounds of meat, which the anglers plan on sharing with friends and family.
The mako is one of the most commonly consumed sharks in the United States. Mako meat is especially popular throughout New England, where it can be commonly seen in local fish shops. The flesh is described as similar in texture and taste to swordfish, and is among the most palatable of shark meat. Despite this, many anglers only harvest a limited number of mako sharks each year for consumption due to the fact that they are slow to mature and have low reproductive numbers.
When asked where their fishing spot was, the Polks declined to comment. The anglers said they are concerned that other fishermen will flock to the location or that tourists will.
“We just want to save our sport,” Joey Polk told WKRG-TV. “The more people that know about it, the more people that crowd our beach, with hundreds of people swimming—that’s not what we want.”
The International Game Fish Association lists the all-tackle record for mako as a 1,221-pound shark caught in 2001 in Massachusetts by Luke Sweeney.