1,300-Pound Mako Shark Caught Off Calif. Coast: Is This A Record-Breaking Catch?
A Texas man hooked a whopping 1,323-pound mako shark off the southern coast of California on Monday, fueling speculation that this could be a record-breaking catch.
"Up until now, the largest shark caught by a sport fisherman weighed approximately 1,121 pounds," Jack Vitek, the records coordinator for the International Game and Fish Association, told ABC News. That 1,100-pound record mako was caught back in July 2001 off the coast of Chatham, Mass. (The world record catch of a great white shark happened in 1959 in Ceduna, Australia, and weighed in at 2,664 pounds).
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The massive mako shark was caught just off Huntington Beach, Calif., an Orange County beach town about 40 miles south of Los Angeles. According to the Orange County Register, Jason Johnston, the Texas man who reeled in the 1,300-pound mako, battled the beast for two and a half hours.
"I've hunted lions and brown bears, but I've never experienced anything like this," Johnston told the newspaper. "It felt like I had a one-ton diesel truck at the end of the line, and it wasn't budging."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Johnson and five other men were chumming the water of California's coast with chopped mackerel and sardines when the mako shark pounced. The men were filming a reality segment for a show called "The Professionals" on the Outdoor Channel. From Los Angeles Times:
The way they tell it, they hooked a giant mako and Jason Johnston, from Mesquite, Texas, got in the pole harness to reel it in. He grunted and slipped and slid for 2 1/2 hours as the shark ran the line out almost a mile, thrashing and jumping 20 feet in the air. They finally pulled it to the side of the boat, the Breakaway, and tied it up with a steel cable.
The fishing team hauled the shark on a pickup truck to a weighing station in Gardena. That's when they realized the shark was a record-breaking catch.
The short fin mako shark inhabits the temperate and tropical waters of our oceans, usually far from land but sometimes close to shore around islands or inlets. It is often cited as the fastest shark in the ocean and has been clocked at speeds of up to 20 mph. According to National Geographic, mako sharks have even been known to leap up to 20 feet out of the water and are ample fighters.
Not everyone celebrated the 1,300-pound mako catch in California on Monday. According to Shark Stewards, a California-based advocacy group that argues for shark protection, one-third of ocean shark species are threatened or near threatened.
David McGuire, the director of Shark Stewards, said that these sharks should be seen as "wonderful animals that are important to the ocean."
"The reality is we're overfishing sharks, and this macho big-game attitude should be a relic of the past," he told the Los Angeles Times.
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