New Jersey-based charter boat fishers got their 15 minutes of fame during this annual Shark Week after catching what is reportedly the largest shark ever snagged off the state’s coast.
Weighing in at a hefty 926 pounds, the New Jersey Division Fish and Wildlife says the Mako shark dwarfs the current record-holder for the state, a tiger shark caught in 1988, by a staggering 46 pounds. Measuring 12 feet in length, the Mako reportedly had such a large head that the captain compared its size to a “garbage can.”
Image Credit: Jenny Lee Sportfishing/Facebook
"When I first saw the shark, I thought, 'We hooked a great white shark.' It didn't look real. It was the biggest fish I'd ever seen. Its head was the size of a garbage can," captain Dave Bender said to USA Today.
Most average Mako sharks grow to be about 10 feet in length and are lucky to surpass 300 pounds in weight. It goes without saying that this shark stood out from the norm for its species, so it's a shame that it was reeled in and kept rather than set free after the catch.
The fishermen reportedly had a host of issues reeling the shark in after the fiberglass rod snapped during the catch attempt. The job quickly became a multi-man effort as they sought to reel the shark in through the boat’s tuna door.
Since the New Jersey Record Fish Program rules that the catch must be made by one man to count as a record, the monster Mako shark won’t go down in record-keeping books. The ruling is bittersweet for the fishermen, but the crew calls this Mako shark the “catch of a lifetime” in a Facebook post.
Unsurprisingly, many aren’t too happy that the shark wasn't put back into the ocean after the catch, which clearly would have been the more favorable action. Several shark species are either vulnerable or endangered, and subjection to over-fishing isn’t doing any of them justice on the road to recovery.