Corey Knowlton of "Jim Shockey’s The Professionals" finally filmed his world record mako shark.
Fishing Monday about 15 miles off Huntington Beach, Calif., with Capt. Matt Potter, aka Mako Matt, the record seekers were chumming aboard The Breakaway when the call of huge mako sent the team in action. The big predator came near the boat then took the bait.
Jason Johnston of Mesquite, Texas, manned the rod for the two-hour fight and reeled in the 1,323.5-pound shortfin mako. If certified by the IGFA, the 11-foot long fish with an 8-foot girth will break the all-tackle world record by more than 100 pounds.
“It’s basically like a gigantic nightmare swimming around looking to wreak horrible terror on anything it comes across,” Knowlton told KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles. “The shark had come up and it was swimming around the back of the boat. I thought this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. Get me out of here. So I got my friend Jason here.”
While a bit overdramatic, Johnston thought nearly the same thing as he faced the prospect of fighting the behemoth.
“We finally got this thing hooked and Matt strapped me into this rod,” he said. “And I look at him, ‘How do I get out of this thing?’ It took a quarter mile of line in seconds. It came out of the water 25 feet.”
While the TV interviewer said they were exaggerating, Knowlton confirmed the fish, in its attempt to throw the hook, did jump 20 feet up in the air. Mako sharks are common off the southern California coast, but such large specimens are a rarity. The open ocean predators, which have tremendous speed and leaping ability, are an elite sport fish. Smaller makos are often caught offshore, and state laws allow anglers to keep two a day.
Knowlton has teamed with Potter, who runs Mako Matt’s Marine in Huntington Beach, for several years in a quest to hunt big makos. On “The Professionals” show page, there are videos of their previous encounters with makos.
“I met Matt four, five years ago, and really believed in him,” Knowlton said. “It’s his dream to go out and catch these big sharks. We only do it once or twice a year.”
If certified by the International Game Fish Commission, Johnston’s fish would eclipse the current mark of 1,221 pounds, caught off Chatham, Mass., in 2001.
The fish was donated to a research facility.
For The Professionals show page and mako videos, click here.