April 20, 2007

One for the Books: At 1,063-Pounds, a Mako Shark Caught Wednesday Was so Large That Two Boat Captains Had to Join Forces

By Jill Nolin, Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach

Apr. 20--DESTIN -- A Gulf Breeze fishing crew interrupted the dinner of a Mako shark that was feasting on a school of dolphins Wednesday.

And the capture of the feisty 1,063-pound shark may earn the crew a world fishing record.

The four people aboard the Sea Ya Later II were cobia fishing when they spotted the shark at about 2:30 p.m. chasing its lunch near the shore between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach.

The shark had a porpoise in its mouth when it was hooked with a cobia jog. That didn't faze the 12-foot, 6-inch Mako, which is a type of shark notorious for putting up a fight.

It didn't take long for the crew aboard the 23-foot boat to realize they were going to need a bigger vessel to help.

Then along came the Mother Lode, a 45-foot charter boat that docks at the Fisherman's Wharf in Destin.

The boat's captain, Jason Hallmark, joined the effort on the Sea Ya Later II. He threw a flying gaff into the shark's gill, which finally caused it to release the porpoise.

"That's when the fish went crazy," said Paul Sims, a Valparaiso man who was on the Mother Lode. "We don't even think she knew she was foul-hooked."

Carl Osley used another flying gaff to secure the shark. Both of those gaffs were tied to the Sea Ya Later II. The boat was tilting, with the water only about a foot away from flowing over the railing.

"If she hadn't been as tired as she was, this boat would be sitting on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico," Lindsey Stanley, the Sea Ya Later II's 105-pound captain, said late Wednesday night.

After the shark died, it took eight men to pull it aboard the Mother Lode and take it to Destin.

"That was a lifetime experience for any angler on the water, without a question," Sims said.

The registered weight of 1,063 pounds makes the catch eligible for the world record in the 30-pound line class for a short-fin Mako.

The class record is a 997-pound, 11-ounce shark caught in Sidney, Australia, in 1995.

The largest Mako recorded in the all-tackle division was a 1,221 pounder caught in Massachusetts in 2001.

"It's a possible world record, and I'm investigating it as a world record," said Jim Roberson, who represents the Panhandle for the International Game Fish Association.

" ... When you're catching a 1,000-pound fish on a 30-pound string, that's a big deal," he said.

An application for a world record must be submitted to verify certain requirements have been met. A photograph must also exist of the angler, George Schwartz, the tackle and the fish together. The application process can take as long as 90 days, Roberson said.

The shark is now in a refrigerated truck in Pensacola. It will likely be used for research.

The crew is also thinking about making a mold of their trophy catch.

Daily News Staff Writer

Jill Nolin can be reached

at 863-1111, Ext. 445.


Copyright (c) 2007, Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

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