Anglers who caught huge mako shark never applied for world’s record

Record catch?
Kent Williams, owner of New Fishall Bait, stands next to a 1323.5 pound Mako shark at the company’s headquarters in Gardena in June. Three friends caught the animal off the coast of Huntington Beach.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

By now, the trio of fishermen from California, Colorado and Texas were supposed to be world record holders.

But two months after hooking a mako shark that apparently weighed in at more than 1,300 pounds, the anglers have yet to even file the paperwork to claim it.

“I talked to one of them after it happened and he said he’s been out of the country,” said Jack Vitek, world records coordinator for the International Game Fish Assn. based in Florida.

“We still haven’t heard from them,” Vitek said.


If officials do receive an application, it will take another 60 days to verify the catch. The two-page form asks for details: how they caught the fish, where they caught the fish, the kind of tackle used.

After the arrival of the submission, which requires photos and witness testimony, “we list it as a pending world record,” Vitek said in June.

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,” Vitek said, “but it has happened.”


On June 3, Matt Potter, owner of Mako Matt’s Marine, a Huntington Beach bait shop, and his buddies hauled in the shark, which tipped the scales at 1,323.5 pounds.

It stretched 11 feet and was 8 feet in circumference, according to Kent Williams, a certified weight master at New Fishall Bait Co. in Gardena, where the creature was stored in a freezer. He said the beast would probably be used for taxidermy and research.

Among the 6,850 world records the International Game Fish Assn. has on file, only 23 involve animals topping 1,300 pounds, according to Vitek. 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 friend “got incredibly lucky” while on a three-day trip in June, catching the shark while filming a reality show about hunting called “The Professionals” for the Outdoors Channel.

It’s Johnston, a professional angler, who can file the application, Potter said Monday afternoon.

“I don’t know why he hasn’t done it,” he added.


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