Nearly 1,000-pound mako shark caught off New Jersey coast

BRIELLE, N.J. — A shark that came close to shattering a state record was reeled in last week, 12 miles off the coast of New Jersey.

A family chartered a boat through Jenny Lee Sportfishing in Brielle for an overnight trip on July 21. Guided by two professional fishermen, they trolled for tuna until dark and then began fishing for sharks. They caught three small tuna and a 35-pound keeper, but that paled in comparison to the 926-pound mako they'd catch by morning.

"When the rod first took off, it just kept going and going," said Capt. Kevin Gerrity, of the Jenny Lee.

They threw the boat in reverse to prevent a 80-pound capacity fishing line from snapping. The shark bit down on a 240-ound capacity wire and hook. They used a Shimano Terez rod. It took the group almost two hours to reel in the shark close enough to shoot it in the head and drag it aboard.

"It took seven men to pull it through that door," Gerrity said, pointing to the stern.

Once they hung on a scale at the marina, the shark's body stretched the length of two men, for a total of 12 feet.

"I believe it was the time of their life," Gerrity said, referring to the father and sons who fought for the catch.

They took turns being strapped in with the pole.

Unfortunately because more than one person reeled it in, this mako will not count as the biggest shark ever caught off the coast of New Jersey. Unofficially, the 926-pound catch shattered the current record of an 856-pounder caught in 1994.

"We know that we caught the biggest shark in New Jersey," said Dave Bender, also a captain of the Jenny Lee.

The shark has since been cut up into steaks. The family who reeled it in said they plan to mount the mako's jaws.