A record-breaking shark caught off the Florida Panhandle last week had its captor celebrating with friends and family by barbecuing the 11-foot mako.
Joey Polk, 29, of Milton, Fla., also holds the record for the largest tiger shark caught in 2010, clocking in at 949 pounds, according to the International Land-Based Shark Fishing Association. But the 805-pound catch he reeled in off the Florida Panhandle with the help of two cousins is unforgettable.
Polk says the effort is recognized by ILSFA as the largest mako catch ever.
"It was really good," he told the New York Daily News on Monday. "It's not real fishy. It does not have a real gamy, fishy taste."
Polk broke the mako record held by his cousin Earnie Polk, who caught a 674 pound land-based shark in 2009, the Pensacola News Journal reports. Earnie was also with him for the historic catch.
"It was really exciting to say the least," Joey Polk told the Daily News. "I fought the fish for a little more than an hour."
But the father of three said they were not looking to kill the shark. "We tried to revive the fish and send him back out, but he was too worn out to swim," Polk said. "That's why we decided to keep him. We don't do it for the money, for the publicity, just to catch the fish."
He says that this catch is possibly their best yet. "They are not supposed to be here,” he adds. “They are open water fish and tend to stay in cold deeper waters."
Polk and his cousins set about 98 percent of what they catch free, he told the Houston Chronicle.
“We only bring in the ones too injured to swim away,” said Polk, who admits that fishing is a misunderstood sport and not everybody agrees with it.
(Photos via New York Daily News)