9 Biggest Sharks Ever Caught
UPDATE: As sea creatures go, sharks are probably the most famous. One of them starred in Jaws, they have a week named after them, and they’re just generally the badasses of the ocean. So catching an especially big one is pretty much the highest honor for a fisherman. And it would be a shame to let those big sharks caught since 2011, and the people who caught them, go unrecognized. So enjoy two bonus entries in this list of the nine biggest sharks ever caught.
Sadly, Shark Week 2011 is drawing to a close. Now, the good news is that we won’t have to see any more of those dumb commercials with Andy Samberg. (Hey, I love the guy, but the commercials are not funny). The bad news? Obviously, no more sharks. Thankfully, I’ve come up with the perfect remedy for post-shark week tristesse, an electronic panacea to help us bide the time until Shark Week 2012. It’s a list of some of the biggest sharks ever caught. Yep, I’ve scoured the internet to find 9 of the greatest trophies ever captured in the world of extreme sport fishing. All you have to do it bookmark this page, then, whenever you feel that emptiness in your soul that only awesome sharks can fill, click on the link and have another look.
This huge mako shark was actually caught during filming for a TV show, and it's heavy enough to displace a couple of the sharks on this list. For perspective, keep in mind that the average mako shark weights around 300 pounds at adulthood.
Bonus: Giant Mako Shark (1,323 lb)This massive great white shark was found by a crew of fishermen in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. It weighed 2,000 pounds and was 20 feet long, which puts it just five feet short of the shark from Jaws.
Bonus: 2,000-lb Great White
The official International Game Fish Association (IGFA) record for a bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) is a 697 lb 12 oz fish caught off Kenya in 2001 by an angler named Ronald de Jager. However, the bull shark pictured here could very well have beaten that record. It was caught by Ed Maloney, who was just fishing off the seawall behind his cousin Frank Maloney’s home in St. Petersburg, FL. The two Maloney’s couldn’t land the fish themselves, so they had to call Frank’s next door neighbor for help. Together, the three of them landed the 8 ft 10 in 700 pounder. Since they didn’t have a certified scale, there was no way of verifying the weight, and thus no way of obtaining official world-record status. Source
9. Unofficial World Record Bull Shark (700 lb)
Pictured here is the IGFA-certified world record shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), caught off Chatham, MA, by Luke Sweeney on July 21, 2001. This man-eating species of shark comes from the same order—lamniformes—as the much more famous great white shark. At 1,221 pounds, this particular specimen beat the previous world record by a very solid 106 pounds. Source
8. World Record Shortfin Mako Shark (1,221 lb)
This bad boy (or girl) was caught by commercial fisherman Roger Nowell off the coast of Cornwall, England, back in 2007. It bested the previous record for thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus), which was set earlier that year in Hawaii, by a whopping 300 pounds. Nowell explained that he was trawling for squid when this 32 foot 1,250 pound shark serendipitously ended up in his net. The fish was later auctioned off in the local fish market; however, they wouldn’t say who bought the beast or for how much. Source
7. World Record Thresher Shark (1,250 lb)
Clyde “Bucky” Dennis of Port Charlotte, FL, was trying to catch a world record shark when he set out to fish waters famous for large quantities of tarpon. Incredibly, he actually did it. Using a live 20 lb stingray as bait, Dennis hooked his 14 ft hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) at about 11:30 a.m., then called a few of his buddies so they could motor on out and give him a hand. After a long battle in which their boat was dragged 12 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico by the fish, Dennis and company were finally able to where it out and haul it in. This catch beat the old record by 289 pounds. Source
6. World Record Hammerhead Shark (1,280 lb)
The sixgilled shark, more commonly known as the cow shark and less commonly known as Hexanchus griseus, belongs to the Hexanchiformes order of sharks. These are the oldest, most primitave sharks in the world, and they have more relatives in the fossil record than they do swimming the oceans of the world. Their most notable feature is, of course, their extra gill—modern shark species have 5, but these ancients sharks have 6. The IGFA world record for a sixgilled shark is a massive 1,298 pounds. Source
5. World Record Sixgilled Shark (1,298 lb)
The monster tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) pictured here may no longer be the IGFA world record catch, but it’s so huge I couldn’t exclude it from this list. Angler Walter Maxwell caught the behemoth from the end of the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier in Myrtle Beach, SC, on June 14, 1964. A crowd of fascinated beach-goers gathered to watch the epic battle. In the end, Maxwell’s fish obliterated the old world record for tiger shark by 350 pounds. It was known for a long time as “Big Game Fishing’s Greatest Catch.” (FYI, today, for obvious reasons, they do not allow shark fishing near beaches Source
4. Previous World Record Tiger Shark (1,780 lb)
Walter Maxwell’s reign as IGFA tiger shark record holder ended on March 28, 2004. That’s when a man named Kevin James Clapson landed this 1,785 lb 11 oz fish off the caost of Ulladulla, Australia. Of course, Clapson didn’t shatter the record like Maxwell did in ’64, but bigger is bigger. Source
3. World Record Tiger Shark (1,785 lb)
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws certainly helped make the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) the most famous—or, rather, infamous—species of shark on the planet. However, among sport fisherman, the great white has always been the most sought-after trophy. Consequently, there are numerous legends about mammoth great white sharks caught at various locations around the world. One of these stories hails from Cuba, and it actually has pictures—like this one here—to back it up. While there is absolutely no way this fish weighed 7,000 pounds like the inset caption claims, it is clearly one ridiculously huge shark. Source
2. “The Cuban” Great White (weight unknown)
The official IGFA world record for great white sharks was set on April 21, 1959. A man named Alf Dean caught a 2,664 pound great white shark off Ceduna, Australia. And here’s the best part: this catch beat the old record by a mind-boggling 1,596 pounds. That’s right, math scholars, the great white landed by Dean was 150% larger than any great white shark previously caught. Of course, he used a porpoise as bait—something you’d never get away with today. Source
1.Alf Dean’s Great White (2,664 lb)