As thousands of Southern Californians flocked to the coast for the July 4 holiday, news of a monstrous mako shark being captured not far from shore began to spread. The great predator, landed off Marina del Rey in Los Angeles County, required eight men to place onto a marina scale.
The scale quickly topped out at 750 pounds and estimates placed the shortfin mako at between 800-900 pounds.
The story broke as beachgoers were informed of a great white shark sighting that prompted a temporary swimming ban along a stretch of San Diego coastline.
What’s missing from the mako shark story, however, is that there has been no input from the anglers. Most reports used Craig Campbell, general manager of Del Rey Landing, as the primary source.
Campbell was present when the shark was towed into the marina on Tuesday.
“Our digital scale goes to 750, and it was bent before half of the shark was off the ground,” Campbell told NBC.
To the L.A. Times he added, “We haven’t seen sharks like that around here for a couple years. It was a pretty big fish.”
Campbell claimed not to know the identity of the anglers, but said the shark was caught about 15 miles offshore.
Tom Hall, Commodore of the Pacific Mariners Yacht Club, was present with his wife as the anglers were trying to hoist the shark out of the water in Marina del Rey.
Hall, who took the photo accompanying this report, said in an interview that he did not recognize the fishermen or their boat, and assumed they were not locals.
Keith Poe, a veteran shark fisherman who specializes in tagging and releasing, said shark fishermen who visit Southern California seeking trophy-sized makos generally prefer to remain anonymous because killing large makos is controversial.
Whatever the case, this was a very large pelagic predator. Shortfin makos, 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. But the IGFA does not specify whether that was a shortfin or longfin mako.