This report was filed by fishing columnist Jim Freda. BRIELLE — Dave Bender, owner of Jenny Lee Sportfishing, and Kevin Gerrity of Point Pleasant caught a “fish of a lifetime” — a record-breaking 926-pound shortfin mako — Saturday night in the Hudson Canyon. The 12-foot shark, weighed in at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle, is 70 pounds heavier than the 856-pounder caught in 1994 by Christopher Palmer. To date, this is the heaviest shortfin mako caught off New Jersey in recorded history. The current International Game Fish Association world record for a shortfin mako is 1,221 pounds, caught by Luke Sweeney on July 21, 2001 off Massachusetts. “We trolled all afternoon and landed a 35-pound yellowfin and three throwbacks,” Mr. Bender said. “We set up at night for makos and swords and at about 11 p.m. the shark rod goes screaming. After about an hour and a half of backing down we had the fish gaffed boatside.” “That was the easy part, it took another hour and six guys to get the 12-foot, 926-pound mako through the tuna door. Fish of a lifetime, to say the least.” Mr. Bender added that his friend and co-captain, Mr. Gerrity “deserves 100 percent of the credit for catching this beast. He has waited 35 years for this moment.”
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