Five men aboard the fishing boat "Missfit" reeled in the second largest shark ever caught in New Jersey on Saturday. The crew pulled in an 11-foot, 820-pound mako shark off the coast of Cape May.
Patch reported that the crew was aboard a 31-foot fishing boat and were fishing for yellowfin tuna when they hooked the massive shark. The largest shark caught in New Jersey waters was an 856-pound shark caught in 1994.
According to Philly, the men set out at 4 a.m. on Saturday to catch yellowfin tuna, with the trip serving as a test run for the South Jersey Shark Tournament. They turned off the engines and settled in to fish about 67 miles off the coast.
Gary Blakla, one of the five men, cast his line and shortly after was being jerked around by the shark. The men reported that the shark was thrashing and trying to free itself, even jumping over ten feet in the air.
Rob Kurian, the captain, proceeded to steer the boat in circles around the shark, while Fred Dirsh Sr., Fred Dirsh Jr., and Paul Tsoukalas readied themselves to kill the monster shark.
Blakla was pulled around the boat’s deck while the shark thrashed in the water, with Tsoukalas holding Blakla by the fighting belt.
Dirsh Jr. reportedly yelled, “Gary, don’t let go and hold on, man!”
Once Blakla was able to reel the shark in closer, Dirsh Sr. shot it with a 12-gauge shotgun.
The men figured the line would break, with Dirsh Jr. saying, “You’re seeing the biggest shark you’ve ever caught in your life, a dream, jumping all over the ocean, and you’re like any second it’s all over.”
Dirsh Sr. managed to hit the shark with another round, killing it and ending the 80-minute battle. They still struggled to pull it aboard because of its size.
The five men returned to the South Jersey Marina at around 11 p.m. that day.
While they were proud of the catch, it came about a week too early. Had the men caught it during the South Jersey Shark Tournament and won, they would have earned a $250,000 prize.
Dirsh Sr. said: “I call her a black-backed, silver-sided, toothy, son of a gun stick of dynamite. She’s nasty.
“She cost me a quarter-million dollars," he added.
Photo Source: My Fox Austin, South Jersey Marina