A charter boat hauled in what looks to be the largest mako shark ever caught off New Jersey. Weighing in at a staggering 926 pounds, the shortfin mako is 70 pounds heavier than the previous record that was recorded in 1994.
Captain Dave Bender, who owns a fishing boat called the Jenny Lee, pulled in the shark with the help of five other fishermen who chartered his boat. Because more than one person caught it, it won’t be an official state record, but the fact remains that it is by far the heaviest shortfin mako caught off New Jersey’s coastline. “It took up the whole cockpit,” said Captain Bender to Patch.
On Friday morning, Bender, along with Captain Kevin Gerrity and their six charters, headed out to an area known as the Hudson Canyon. By the late afternoon they’d caught one yellowfin, so when the sun went down, they set their sights on shark and swordfish. Gerrity has been devoted to catching a massive mako for years. “Every night offshore for the last 10 years he (Gerrity) puts out a shark rod, and every night I tell the customers, ‘We ain’t gonna catch no mako,’ ” Bender told Patch. “Kevin’s passion and persistence has paid off today for a fish of a lifetime.”
Just after 11 pm, they hooked into something big. Of course, hooking it wasn’t the hard part. For the next hour and a half, the crew struggled to land the mako, breaking the rod in the process. “The first time we got the leader the fish took off again. I thought for sure we were going to lose the fish.” By 2 am, however, the shark was in the boat, and the heaviest shark ever caught off New Jersey was on the deck. Of course, many are shocked that the group killed the shark instead of cutting it loose.
While Bender’s mako is massive, the current world record dwarfs it. Caught in 2001 off the coast of Massachusetts but Luke Sweeney, it weighed 1,221 pounds.