A Florida man and his cousins might have landed a record-setting shark recently, but they almost didn’t tell anyone about it.
Joey Polk from Milton was fishing off the Gulf Coast with Earnie Polk and Kenny Peterson last Tuesday when together they reeled in an 805-pound mako shark that barely fit in the back of a pickup truck.
If it weren’t for a picture taken by someone at a local gas station, which was posted to social media and quickly started making the rounds, Polk wouldn’t even be talking publicly about the massive fish.
“We just want to save our sport the more people that know about it the more people that crowd our beach. With hundreds of people swimming, that’s not what we want,” Joey Polk told WKRG-TV.
They also didn’t want to raise alarm about sharks in the water.
“It’s unbelievable, there are people in their lifetime that will never know that type of excitement,” Joey Polk added of the catch.
Watch WFTV-TV’s report about the potentially record-setting shark:
According to the Pensacola News Journal, it took the men about an hour to bring the 11-footer to the shoreline.
“That’s probably the best fish we ever caught,” Earnie Polk said. “You’ll spend many, many hours to catch a fish of that caliber or a fish of that size.”
The trio submitted the shark to to the International Land-Based Shark Fishing Association for record consideration. Two of the three men already hold three world records with the association.
Most of the sharks they catch they release, but they kept this latest one, telling the News Journal that it was too exhausted after the struggle to swim anymore. They plan on distributing the meat among family and friends so “there won’t be a bit of it wasted.”
“There will be a lot of people eating really good off this fish,” Joey Polk said in WFTV’s report.
Many of the fish they release, they first tag in cooperation with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The newspaper added that the fishermen follow the the land-based shark fisherman’s code of ethics.
“We don’t do chumming whatsoever. We fish at night. We don’t fish on crowded beaches. We don’t fish anytime there are swimmers,” Earnie Polk told the News Journal. “We don’t draw the fish to the beach. We just catch what swims by. The fishermen are there because the fish are there.”
Last year in Huntington Beach, Calif., an “unreal” 11-foot, 1,323.5-pound mako shark was reeled in by a Texas man.