1,300-pound mako shark a record-breaker? Takes 60 days to find out

A 1,300-pound mako shark sits on the back of a boat trailer after it was caught Monday 15 miles off the coast of Huntington Beach.
(Ray Pacheco / Associated Press)

Once the anglers from California, Colorado and Texas contact officials to begin the process of confirming a potential world record -- having hauled in a mako shark reported to weigh more than 1,300 pounds Monday -- it would take another 60 days to verify the catch.

“We’re still waiting to hear from them. They are probably getting all their ducks in a row to prepare for the paperwork,” said Jack Vitek, world records coordinator for the International Game Fish Assn. based in Florida.

The two-page application asks for details: how they caught the fish, where they caught the fish, the kind of tackles used.


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Once the submission arrives, “we list it as a pending world record,” Vitek noted.

The two-month waiting period “gives us enough time to check the information - and it’s a fair warning and notice to someone else, who, for example, might have gotten another big fish, maybe 1,400 pounds, and they also need to apply.

“It’s very rare, but it has happened.”

Matt Potter, owner of Mako Matt’s Marine, a bait shop in Huntington Beach, and his buddies on Monday afternoon hooked the colossal shark weighing exactly 1,323.5 pounds.

It stretched 11 feet and was 8 feet in diameter, according to Kent Williams, certified weight master at New Fishall Bait Co. in Gardena, where the creature is now stored in a freezer.

“Most guys keep the trophy jaw, but this one’s going to taxidermy and research,” Williams said.

In the past, his workers have cleaned and gutted smaller sharks, donating its “pure meat, a delicious delicacy” to the homeless as part of a ministry outreach at his church, Calvary Chapel West Grove in Garden Grove.

To those who criticize the fishermen for not releasing the shark, Williams said, “It’s all part of the food chain. If they were endangered, they wouldn’t allow us to fish them.”

At the Florida game association, Vitek said, “With big fish like the one caught, it’s not surprising to get that kind of feedback. It’s a reflection of the time we live in right now.”

Among the 6,850 world records the group has on file, only 23 involve creatures topping 1,300 pounds, he added. That means the mako -- found 15 miles off the coast of Huntington Beach -- would fall within the top half-percent.

Jason Johnston, a fisherman from Mesquite, Texas, said he, Potter and their friends “got incredibly lucky” while participating in a three-day trip, filming a reality show called “The Professionals” for the Outdoors Channel, which focuses on hunting.

They attached a camera on the fishing line that nabbed the mako “and we got unbelievable images. I don’t think anyone has seen these kinds of images” of the capture.

“Wow,” Vitek responded, as he waited to measure and test the tackle used by the fishermen. The application also requires photos and witness testimony. “If that is true, that would be pretty cool.”

Potter, who goes by Mako Matt, had never caught a mako. But his wife, Kristin Potter, did in the mid-2000s, reeling in a shark weighing more than 37 pounds while out on their boat, Breakaway.

Of Monday’s adventure, when he spotted the cobalt blue creature with a white belly, he said, “I knew what it was right away from its color and its shape. That’s when it got really intense.”

Potter, fishing since he was 12, said at 33 he still feels a thrill being out on the water.

“It almost looked fake” when the mako surfaced in his line of vision, he recalls. “But we have everything on videotape.”


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Times staff writer Kate Mather contributed to this report.