A new record for land-based shark fishing may have just been established by a Florida man who pulled in a mako shark from the shores of the Gulf measuring 11 feet long and weighing in at over 800 pounds.
After tussling with the beast for close to an hour, Joey Polk from Milton, Florida, was able to heave it onto land last Tuesday night utilizing approximately 900 yards of line pulled out of his reel.
The mako shark is notoriously known as the fastest of all sharks with a swim speed ability of 60 miles per hour, which Polk says he can definitely confirm.
“She was pulling line out of my reel at easily 60 miles and hour. We call that ‘smokin’ the drag’ round here,” said Polk who already holds one land-based shark fishing record prior to this conquest.
“(The reel) has 60 pounds of drag on it, it’s amazing that these fish can pull it out,” Polk said, adding that a person can scarcely pull out the line by hand.
“When I saw it, I knew it was a big fish. I’ve been fishing since I was a little kid, but I thought it was maybe 700 pounds or so, then when we weighed it, it came in at 805! It was amazing,” said Polk.
Polk’s monster of a shark is a contender to beat the previous land- based shark fishing record, which is coincidentally held by his cousin, Earnie, who captured a 674 pound mako in 2009.
Earnie Polk was on hand to witness his record get crushed as was another cousin, Kenny Peterson, who aided in the capture by roping the shark’s tail. The trio worked in unison as they wrestled the monster shark up onto the beach.
The size of the shark was so extensive that it was impossible to fit it in the back of Polk’s truck. The rear end – tail and all – was dangling out the back of the pick up, as Polk made his way home with the enormous fish.
While this particular catch may seem like the record of all records, this is not the largest acquisition for this third-generation shark fisherman. Polk’s other world record was documented in 2010 for the capture of a 949 pound tiger shark.
The father of three children said he looks forward to his kids following in his footsteps. While his daughters, ages 7 and 9, are already little pros, its only a matter of time before his son, just 3 weeks old, will be out with him on the water.
“The funny thing is, as I left the house to go out that night, I kissed my son and said ‘Daddy’s gonna catch up a big, big fish tonight,’ but I didn’t think it would be this big,” Polk said.
In most cases, when the Polk cousins snag a shark, its common practice to tag and release it. Not this time says the family, as the giant mako was cooked and served to the community of 250 people using an old Polk secret family recipe.
“We release about 98% of what we catch…we only bring in the ones too injured to swim away,” said Polk, who recognizes that not everyone agrees with fishing the animals just for sport.
“I do it because I saw my grandfather do it, my father, then my older brothers, then me. I love the sheer power of these fish, to be locked in hand-to-hand combat with a fish that can bite me,” Polk said.
Polk and his family of shark fisherman have chosen not to divulge the exact whereabouts of the catch as they are concerned that the beach would become overwhelmed by floods of tourists as well as other competing fishing groups.
Could this 805 Pound Mako Shark be the Largest on Record?