On April 15, Florida angler Joey Polk brought in an 11-foot, 805-pound mako shark with the help of his cousins Earnie Polk and Kenny Peterson. At the time, the veteran anglers were sure that they had just harvested the largest shortfin mako caught from land. This certainty stemmed from the fact that Joey and Earnie Polk each held the world record at different times with the International Land-Based Shark Fishing Association (ILSFA). In fact, Earnie Polk still holds the mako record with a 625-pound shark the angler caught off Navarre Beach in 2009. This time, however, a recent rule change will bar the cousins from entering their newest catch into the association’s record books.

“As of January 1st of 2012, the ILSFA will no longer promote or accept record applications for sharks not released,” the organization states on its website. “With that said, our respect and support for angler’s rights including decisions to legally possess fish remains.”

Since the ILSFA was founded in 2006, the organization has promoted ethical and sustainable fishing practices, which included the harvesting of some shark species. While the ILSFA still upholds an angler’s right to legally keep fish for consumption, the association decided adopt a release-only requirement to its records in order to encourage more anglers to release their catches back into the wild.

As veteran anglers with both kept and released records to their names, the Polks said that releasing their most recent catch proved to be difficult.

“We tried to revive the fish and send him back out, but he was too worn out to swim,” Joey Polk told the New York Daily News. “That’s why we decided to keep him. We don’t do it for the money, for the publicity, just to catch the fish.”

The cousins kept a portion of the shark meat for themselves but gave away the majority to family and friends. Joey Polk may not have snagged the record this month, but he certainly enjoyed a few good meals—and there are always more opportunities waiting in the water.

Image screenshot of video by Barcroft TV on YouTube

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8 thoughts on “Eleven-foot Mako Shark Denied World Record

  1. That just wrong in so many ways. I could understand if these guys had not tried to release the shark. If the animal was to exhausted to swim away. What were they supposed to do. Just leave it to ruin and go to waste. Such a stupid rule. I wouldn’t even belong to such and organization.

  2. One of our big problems is people with a little power changing the rules. Boy they must feel good for screwing over these guys.

  3. Once again PC staffs just mangle the sport. Here a cut and dried record is shunted aside so that they can look green and please the liberal sideliners that have nothing to do wit the sport and would do away with it if they could. The ILSFA should study the NRA’s methodology of defending their sport. Just maybe those sportsmen that value the sport and are ethical should create their own organization and boycott the ILSFA.

  4. One can only hope that the officials get to meet up with one of the released sharks up close and personal. Stupid rule.

  5. yeah, what a bunch of bullshit! catch and release on an 800 pound shark?? who the hell has a big hoist and scale on their boat to weigh the damn thing and then relase it? a monster like that needs to be taken back to port and weighed with witnesses and by then it has to be dead.
    these guys got robbed and thats a big bunch of BS!

  6. If they really want to do Sharks a favor they shouldn’t even have “record books” for them. The largest are the breeders and until stocks are returned to adequate levels then no fishing records and even a moratorium on fishing for them AND Bluefin tuna would be the Proper thing to do. Now, that said, Many of you will debunk what I said ! Also , moving our international waters out to 200 miles again and impounding foreign fishing trawlers that do not abide by our laws will be the ONLY way to get stocks of sharks and swordfish and Bluefins back to an acceptable level.. Now go ahead and rage on me, i can take it !!

  7. That’s BS. I’d say boycott ILSFA. I plan to. You cant trust any of their records now as they get to pick who goes in the books. Lost all my trust in them. And if you can’t trust them, what good is it to even have them ? BOYCOTT ILSFA !!!!!

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