The mako shark is one of the fiercest predators in the entire world, with no natural enemies and a seemingly insatiable appetite. One extremely large mako shark, however, is now the trophy of one group of fisherman.
A group of fisherman caught a 12 foot, 1300 pound shark off the coast of Southern California near Huntington Beach on Monday. Though the men were on board a boat, pursuing their prize was still not for the faint of heart.
"It's unreal. This thing is definitely a killing machine," says Jason Johnston from Mesquite, Texas, whose group hooked the shark about 15 miles offshore. "Any wrong step and I could have went out of the boat and to the bottom of the ocean."
The catch was not an easy one. The fishermen report that it took them over two hours to bag the fearsome creature, and they required over a quarter mile worth of fishing line to do so. Besides the animal's size, the main reason it gave the men such a struggle was because of its strength and agility. According to the experts at Field and Stream:
"[Great] Whites may be the top of the line so far as size and popular interest are concerned, but they don't nearly have the appeal for sport fisherman that that mako does. [...] Makos generally feed on swift prey like tuna and swordfish. The shark is swift and unpredictable, you will sometimes be facing one direction and fighting a fish you think is deep, when suddenly, frighteningly, the mako will hurl itself into the air and go crashing back into the sea just a few yards from the cockpit."
Though the capture of this massive shark has been applauded by many and has quickly gone viral on the internet, not everyone is so quite so happy about the news. Many find the hunting of this shark to be irresponsible, and stress that we need to rid ourselves of this archaic ritual.
"I'm a little shocked by it. It's really something you see more in Florida than in California, where we have more of a conservation ethic," observes David McGuire, director of Shark Stewards, a Bay Area-based nonprofit that advocates for the protection of sharks. "The reality is we're overfishing sharks and this macho big-game attitude should be a relic of the past."
The fishermen's capture of the 1300 pound mako shark may in fact be a record. The shark has been handed over to a weigh master for certification. The men have already said they will donate the specimen to a research organization for study.