In the Gulf of Mexico, mako sharks are one of the largest predators in the water—and one of the most anticipated game fish for anglers. Captain Kevin Beach of Venice, Louisiana has a long history with the toothy fish, and last week he encountered one of the largest he has ever seen in his career.
“The tuna and wahoo can rest easy,” wrote the Mexican Gulf Fishing Company, Beach’s employer, on Facebook. “One less predator after them… 580lbs less!!!”
Beach first sighted the massive shark about 80 yards out from his ship, the Pale Horse. According to The Times-Picayne, the captain first baited the predator with a bonito, but the fish wanted none of it. Instead, it was only when Beach offered it a fillet of king mackerel that the shark took the bait.
“As soon as we hooked him, we got four really, really cool jumps out of him, and then he never got off the top shot. He never got down to the braid,” Beach said. “He just stayed within 50 feet of the boat for about 30 minutes. I wanted to try to play him down a little bit. I didn’t want to gaff that big of a green fish.”
Beach has been fishing in the Venice area for 30 years, and as a full-time guide for 12. In 2006, he was part of the tournament team that caught the second-largest mako ever in Louisiana’s history, a 765-pound monster in the region known as the Midnight Lump. That said, Beach knows how to handle large makos, but this one still gave him and his clients a challenge.
“I was seeing stars by the time we got him on the boat,” Beach told the Times.
It took five people to hoist the massive shark onto the Pale Horse when the angler, Landon Rachel, brought the fish boatside. The shark was put on ice and taken to Cypress Cove Marina, where it was weighed on a certified scale.
Mako sharks typically weigh under 300 pounds, but some especially large females could go well beyond, even reaching into the thousands of pounds. The current Louisiana state record kept by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association is a 1,149-pound shark caught by Bill Waters 70 miles south of Fourchon in 2009. Rachel’s shark is about half that weight, yet it could very well nab the fourth spot on the state records if certified. In the meantime, the anglers will be enjoying a large stash of shark fillets—about as much as a 580-pound mako can provide.
Image from Facebook.