Giant mako shark caught off Southern California too big for the scale

For the second time in six weeks a giant mako shark has been caught off Southern California, and in both cases the massive predators were too heavy for the marina scales. The latest, making the local newspaper in the midst of “Shark Week,” was a 10-foot, 3-inch mako landed after a battle that played out for two-plus hours off Oceanside, in North San Diego County.

Mako shark caught recently off Oceanside, Calif., is hauled onto the docks for an attempted weigh-in. Credit: Rod Hadrian. Below image shows mako shark caught in early July out of Marina del Rey, 100 miles to the north. Credit: Tom Hall

During the fight the powerful predator pulled the anglers’ 22-foot boat a distance of about two miles. It was too large to be hauled aboard, so they tied the shark alongside their boat and precariously motored into Oceanside Harbor.

“I’ve never pulled in anything like that before,” Magee told the North County Times.

The harbor’s scale tops out at 600 pounds and the mako hit that mark immediately. Magee estimated the actual weight at more than 700 pounds.

Andy Nosal, a shark researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said the capture of so large a mako off Southern California is unusual. “They’re around, but around here you usually get the smaller ones in the 150- or 200-pound range,” he said.

In early July an even larger mako shark was landed in Marina del Rey in Los Angeles County. That specimen, perhaps exceeding 900 pounds, topped out a scale that reaches 750 pounds and caused jaws to drop among passersby. (It’s pictured at right.)

Craig Campbell, general manager of Del Rey Landing, was quoted as saying the scale hit 750 pounds “before half of the shark was off the ground.”

Shortfin mako sharks, which are found in tropical and temperate waters around the world, average up to about 300 pounds but have exceeded 1,400 pounds.

The International Game Fish Assn. lists a 1,221-pound mako caught on rod-and-reel off Chatham, Mass., as the all-tackle world record.

Of the shark caught off Oceanside, it was placed in the back of a pickup truck and taken to Magee’s house for cleaning.

“It fed a lot of families,” he said.

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