The Mako Shark
As seen in the Keynoter on August 30, 2014
We weren't setting any FishMonster Charters records the late August morning that Robert Quirk and John Palmer from Texas joined us. Our dolphin success was at a big fat ZERO and the deep dropping had been limited to just a few minuscule black belly rosefish and a mystery fish that departed at about 400 feet into the electric reel retrieve. Off in the distance we saw our regular pod of resident dolphin starting to making their way toward the Premium Time. As the chicken rig baited with bonito strips reappeared at the surface, we stopped the reel and were pulling the rig into the boat to re-bait when it happened.
Captain Seth Hopp mentioned to the anglers that a dolphin (mammal) was coming in quick towards the transom. He then changed his tone and clarified that it was in fact a very excited MAKO SHARK. The shark came into full view and headed directly towards our teaser hanging off of the port outrigger. This new development was about to change everything!
The last mako shark to make an appearance behind the Premium Time was last winter as we rounded the east corner of the Vandenberg wreck just southeast of Key West. There was a large school of blackfin tuna mixed in with bonito and our trolled feathers were working well. Just after another hook up, a medium-sized (150 lbs. estimated) mako shark attacked the hooked fish and launched twenty feet into the air quickly cutting the line.
This time the circumstances were much different. The mako shark was totally lit up and ready to eat. Captain Seth quickly came down from his perch in the second station and wired a heavy duty shark rig and attached it to our 50 lb. class Penn International as I peppered the water with pieces of cut bonito. He then reached into the fish box and grabbed a recently caught blackfin tuna, hooked it up and pitched it in the general direction of the excited mako. The shark instantly turned and devoured the tuna. We were now hooked up to the mako shark.
The first run was BLISTERING. Robert would be the one to start the long drawn out battle with the shark. He was completely blown away by the sheer power of the fish. One of the requests he had made for his Key West fishing charter was to hook "big fish" and BIG is what he got. The fish sounded deep to 700 feet and settled into the battle. The first rod pass off happened twenty minutes into the fight relieving an exhausted Robert.
Angler John now had the rod and also commented on the strength of the mako. He lasted about twenty minutes until Robert was back in fighting position. I too was elected for a turn on the rod which was a change for me. This triple rotation lasted for over two hours with each of us enjoying every minute of it. The mako shark finally came close enough to touch the leader signifying a win for the anglers. Now for the video footage.
Before the release of the mako shark, Captain Seth and I wanted to video the shark both under and above water for our website and Facebook page. To maneuver the fish into position, it took a constant forward motion with the Premium Time to help keep the mako at the surface.
All of us took pictures and video during the process as Seth filmed underwater with the Go Pro. The mako never seemed to tire. Finally the monofilament leader prior to the wire rig let loose and the shark swam away, descending deep into the blue. Each of us knew we had just experienced something special. Hooking and landing a mako shark offshore of Key West.
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