Florida anglers weary after rare catch of 11-foot mako shark from beach

Florida anglers weary after rare catch of 11-foot mako shark from beach

Outdoors

Florida anglers weary after rare catch of 11-foot mako shark from beach

The rare catch of a nearly 11-foot mako shark on Florida’s Gulf Coast last week left two anglers with fillets enough to feed their extended families, and some very weary arms.

“They swapped the rod back and forth and in the end neither one wanted [to continue],” Ripley Mclendon, owner-guide for Family Land Based Shark Fishing and Tagging Excursions.TBS, told USA Today.

Illinois trio and guide pose with 10-foot, 8-inch shortfin mako shark. Photo: Family Land Based Shark Fishing and Tagging Excursions.TBS

Wes Jacobs, his father-in-law, and a close friend had traveled from Illinois to try their luck with the outfitter at a beach near Destin.

However, Mclendon said that only Jacobs and his friend participated in a 90-minute battle that began at dusk, after the shark had taken a 15-pound bonito used for bait.

“There were three of them, but the older gentleman refused to get on the reel after we hooked up,” Mclendon said of his clients. “He said, ‘I see ya’all taking a beating and I sure don’t want any of it.’ ”

The shark dragged the anglers up and down the beach before it was subdued using big-game fishing tackle. The official measurement was 10 feet, 8 inches.

Mclendon said his company prefers to tag and release sharks, but occasionally clients ask to harvest them.

Shortfin mako sharks, which are found in tropical and temperate waters around the world, are typically encountered much farther offshore. Mclendon explained that sportfishing catches from the beach are extremely rare.

“If you’re lucky, you may see one every few years,” the guide said.

The average size of an adult mako shark is 10 feet and 300 to 350 pounds, although much heavier specimens have been documented, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Mako sharks are the fastest sharks on the planet, capable of 20-mph sprints, and they’re a prized game fish in many parts of the world. Their flesh is considered delectable.

Mclendon said a kayak was used to deliver the bait 300 yards offshore to entice the mako shark caught by Jacobs and friend. They did not get a weight on the shark.

–Photo is used with the permission of Family Land Based Shark Fishing and Tagging Excursions.TBS

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