An American angler has successfully caught and released the biggest fish in history, a Great White shark estimated at a phenomena 4,600lb.
The ocean’s most feared predator was captured to help scientfic research by big-game fisherman and film producer Chris Fischer, off the coast of Baja in Mexico, and his incredible footage will hit our screens next year in a new television series.
His catch included three sharks in excess of 4,000lb, the biggest being a 16ft 7ins log female, and it is the first time that fish of this size have been examined and tagged alive Chris and his team invented a unique system to carry out the operation aroud Guadalupe Island with a rig involving the largest circle hook ever produed, a custom-made Mustad 27/0 version connected to a steel chain, four strands of 1,000lb cable wire as a trace and a long length of tow rope.
The bait, a 40lb piece of tuna, was suspended underneath four huge commercial fishing buoys which created so much water resistance that even a Great White struggled to pull them under. And the hydraulic winch on their 126ft mother ship was converted into a cradle to hoist each shark aboard, where top scientist Dr Michael Domeier took blood samples and attached tags.
Park Lake City, Utah man Chris said that the expedition was the ultimate fishing experience.
“Catching Great Whites like this is very different to angling for large pelagic fish such as a marlin. There’s a sense of history, a sense of awe, humility and humbleness. When a shark comes into the pattern under the back of the boat you look over at your bro and you’re all taking a step back. That thing is going to eat and one wrong move and you could become lunch,” he said.
Photographs from the expedition show Chris within inches of a shark on the ship deck and, although the team had a few ‘near misses’, he says that this is not as dangerous as it looks.
“Sharks have cartilage like skates, so when they experience gravity for the first time they can hardly move. It’s important for us to understand where they breed, feed and give birth, so we can put together a management plan to look after them long term. All 17 sharks have beamed back data and the first one we tagged, named Bruce after the fish in Jaws, travelled over 1,000 miles to the Hawaii circle,” said the 39-year-old.
But does Chris, an angler who has previously tamed marlin to 800lb, think that he could land these 4,000lb-plus Great Whites with a proper big game rod and reel? “No chance!” is his verdict.
The biggest Great Whites in history
– The official rod-caught record Great White shark, according to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), weighed 2,664lb and was taken in Southern Australia in 1959 by Alfred Dean. Bigger sharks have been acknowledged by the IGFA, but were later disallowed for rule violations.
– One of the biggest Great White shark captures of all time was a 3,427lb fish caught on rod and line by shark-fishing pioneer Frank Mundus in 1986, the man who was the inspiration for the character Quint in Jaws. Mundus had harpooned an even bigger 4,500lb specimen 22 years earlier.
– A 23ft long 5,500lb fish was reportedly caught in a set net off the coast of Hualien County in Taiwan on May 14, 1997.