Giant Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego Coast

Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
By: Kirk Deeter
On August 27, 2006, angler Brendan Mason, photographer Randall Bryett (www.riverandreef.com) and Captain Dave Trimble (www.bowmanbluewater.com) encountered this massive mako shark (est. 11 feet and 600-plus pounds) a few miles off the San Diego coast.
Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
The shark was attracted by a chum bag containing a yellowtail tuna carcass (and other assorted body parts), tied to the side of Trimble's 24-foot Triton boat.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
During a 45-minute "courtship" of teasing and casting, the shark frequently bumped the hull, and occasionally gnawed on the motor and prop, apparently stimulated by the motor's zinc anode.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Visible traces of the mako's razor sharp teeth and crushing jaws, left behind as mementos of one of the wildest fly fishing battles of the year.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
According to Mason, it took dozens of casts, accompanied by teases with a mackerel head on a spincasting rod, to prompt the right fly take - one where the fish ate the fly at an angle that minimized the risk of it jumping into the boat.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
The shark eventually ate a tandem red-and-white streamer fly, tied by Brian Mattchoss. Mason used an 8-foot 6-inch, 16-weight fly rod, a wet-tip flyline, 30-pound class tippet, and a wire bite leader.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Mason's drag was set light until the shark swam a safe distance from the boat. When he set up on it, the shark made an explosive 350-yard run. "I was slightly uneasy at that point," admitted Mason. Mako sharks have been know to leap over and even into small boats when hooked.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
A mako shark is one of the fastest predators in the ocean, capable of speed bursts over 50 miles per hour, and jumps twice its body length above the surface.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
A stoked Captain Dave Trimble (www.bowmanbluewater.com). Trimble is known for chasing large predatory sharks on the fly, but by his own admission, this is by far the largest mako he or any of the anglers he's guided have ever landed.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Note the close proximity to the beach ... Trimble estimated they were 2 to 3 miles straight off Mission Bay when they hooked the mako. That spire faintly visible in the distance is Sea World.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
The mako made a series of 10 leaps during the battle, often cartwheeling end-over-end before crashing back into the Pacific.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
The fight lasted 40 minutes. Here, Trimble at the wheel and Mason on the rod watch the mako peel away from the boat with another violent burst of speed.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
"I could tell the shark was going to jump because I'd feel several distinct, strong head-shakes, followed by an acceleration of line off the reel," Mason said.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
In the end, the overriding concern becomes the possibility of the mako jumping into the boat. Here, Mason plays the waiting game as the group makes a plan to release the shark unharmed.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Mason, Trimble, and Bryett were able to estimate the shark's length and weight as it swam alongside the boat before the hookup, and at the end, as they prepared to release it. It was nearly half as long as Trimble's boat.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Trimble picks his moment and cuts the leader - perhaps the most dangerous and ultimately most "sporting" move of all. That large mako, likely a female, is now swimming freely in one of the most important mako shark breeding areas in the world.Randall Bryett
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Giant Mako Shark Caught On Fly Rod Off San Diego
Mason, a world-traveling fly angler who has caught everything from salmon to sailfish, admitted the fight was "far and beyond" anything he's experienced with a fly rod. And, oh, by the way, it was the first mako shark he'd ever caught. Lucky dog.Randall Bryett