Photo courtesy of Taylor Sears
A Scituate man reeled in a 624-pound mako shark Thursday, possibly breaking the record for the biggest male mako ever caught, a biologist said.
“I’ve caught a million sharks before, but never anything this feisty,” said Taylor Sears, 20, a Massachusetts Maritime Academy junior who said he fishes every day of the summer.
Greg Skomal, a shark specialist with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, said the 10-foot fish is the largest male mako shark ever to be recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, and appears to be the largest male ever caught.
“We didn’t think they got this big, basically,” he said.
The charter fishing boat Sears was working aboard pushed out of Scituate Harbor about 5 a.m. Thursday, carrying a family of four for a day of bluefin tuna fishing. The father hooked a large bluefin at 9 a.m. and struggled with it for about 45 minutes.
Suddenly, a giant shark appeared and chomped the tuna in half.
“When I saw the shark, I said, 'That would be a dream to catch,'” Sears recounted. “So the family let me try.”
Sears said he fastened a larger hook to the line, slid on a chunk of the tuna, and hooked the shark within minutes. Two hours later, they were able to secure the record-breaking fish to the boat and began towing it back.
Sears caught the fish in the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank, a national marine sanctuary in Massachusetts Bay, about 18 miles east of Scituate.
The charter boat returned to Scituate Harbor at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Skomal arrived in Scituate this morning to run standard tests on the fish.
In 2001, a world-record 1,200-pound mako female was caught in Massachusetts Bay, Skomal said.
Sears and Skomal recounted the events moments after carving the shark into steaks at the Scituate Harbor Marina.
“I’m still covered in slime,” Skomal said. “It’s an excellent eating fish.”
“We’re cutting him up right now,” Sears said at noon. “He’s getting steaked up and eaten. Everything will be used.”
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