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San Diego Angler Snags 600-pound Mako Shark on a Fly Rod; Released Beast was Possible World Record

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SAN DIEGO, California -- Brendan Mason caught a 600 lb Mako Shark off the coast of San Diego using a fly rod.

While it may have been the biggest fish ever caught using a fly rod, it won’t count as an official record because Mason didn’t kill the beast.

Mason went looking for sharks with a fly fishing outfit based in San Diego. They attracted the shark to the boat using a bucket of cut up fish bits. The shark’s weight and length were estimated as it swam next to the 24 foot boat.

For fishing buffs, Mason used an 8-foot 6-inch, 16-weight fly rod, a wet-tip flyline, 30-pound class tippet, and a wire bite leader.

He had to work hard to get the shark to take the bait. One of the concerns was that the shark should take the bait at such an angle that it didn’t end up in the boat. When the shark finally took the line, it exploded into action.

The events were well photographed, but we are prevented from showing them here as the rights to the photographs have been bought up by various fishing magazines.

By all accounts a mako shark is a pretty serious fish. It can travel up to speeds of 22 miles per hour and in Brendan’s 40 minute fight with the fish, the shark leaped out of the water several times.

Dale Mason, Brendan’s father said that his son is a devoted fisherman.

Brendan has travelled all over the world fly fishing. He’s part of the Angling Exploration Group that produces non-instructional (surf genre) movies about fly fishing.

“That’s what they were targeting, but I don’t think he thought he’d get one that big,” said his father, Dale.

Brendan’s day job is a software developer in Seattle.

To view photographs of the event check out or

Mako Sharks can attain burst swimming speeds of up to 35 km/h (22 mph) and can leap clear of the water to heights of up to 6 meters (20 feet).

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

25 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Well done, Well done. Cheers, Sean PSRF
   comment# 1   - Sean R. Van Sommeran · Santa Cruz California · Apr 21, 2007 @ 2:05pm

Dude I dont know whether the letting go of this shark was intentional or not but I'm glad you let it live! We kill too many of these magnificent creatures. I'm down for hunting to eat but not for the kill and title alone. Taking responsibility! Thank You!
   comment# 2   - Jordan · Simi Valley · Jun 13, 2007 @ 5:14pm

fantastic! catching a mako with a fly rod! that's amazing. I think it's bummed that it didn't count as an "offical record" just because he did not kill it, what a blood thirsty requirement...Still! Fantastic!
   comment# 3   - Talyor WB · Ventura · Jun 21, 2007 @ 7:20pm

holy crap! I didn't think it was possible to catch something that big with a fly rod!
   comment# 4   - Ryan · US · Jun 21, 2007 @ 7:36pm

Brenden, You must be proud and your father also that is a great catch you have done your homework think like a fish!It's a record to anyone that knows about fishing,congratulations!
   comment# 5   - Mark Davis · Congers,NY. · Aug 20, 2007 @ 5:18pm

You may have let that fish live but just think of how many marlin and swordfish lives you condemned by not putting that fish in the hall of fame... KILL THAT SUCKER!
   comment# 6   - Tom · FL · Oct 1, 2007 @ 5:03pm

That's good logic Tom, you moron! Thanked you Brenden for letting this magnificent creature free.
   comment# 7   - Brendan Maas · Philadelphia, PA · Nov 7, 2007 @ 12:08pm

that's the way it should be done, great story, great ending. a tale for the ages.
   comment# 8   - Don Chambers · Rome, Ga · Nov 16, 2007 @ 11:37am

INSPIRATION!!! Just ordering my fly fishing gear!
   comment# 9   - Andy Burton · Manzanillo, Mexico · Nov 28, 2007 @ 7:28pm

Thanks for not killing it! Now thats a REAL man.
   comment# 10   - Lisa Dee · Escondido, California · Mar 3, 2008 @ 8:49pm

you should have killed it! if you were smart you would know that these creatures mean nothing to us and yet alone they kill our children,families, and our friends!!! that was a stupid idea to let it go. and now when i see a shark attack on t.v. i will think of you letting that stupid beast go
   comment# 11   - elizabeth · moreno vally, california · Jun 4, 2008 @ 11:10am

elizabeth Your kidding right? are you that stupid? did you know that you have a better chance of being stuck by lightning then being attacked by a shark? Infact you have an even higher chance of getting shot in a drive by shooting walking down the street then you do getting atacked by a shark. you really need to get educated on this shark issue.
   comment# 12   - jon · san diego · Jul 2, 2008 @ 7:18am

Jon aren't you the genius. Of course most humans have a better chance of being struck by lightning then attacked by a shark. We live on land. Think about educating yourself with a better rebuttal.
   comment# 13   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska Texas · Jul 11, 2008 @ 6:32pm

how do you do it
   comment# 14   - matthew · tasmania · Sep 22, 2008 @ 4:39pm

It warms my heart to know that you released this magnificent animal. To everyone saying he should have killed it because it attacks people. You wouldn't go jogging next to a pride of lions now would you? and yet that's exacly what THOUSANDS of people do when they go scuba diving, surfing, spear fishing. You are essentially doing the same thing. I find it remarkable there aren't as many attacks let alone death as what there is considering how many times people come in contact with these animals. Let alone the fact that these animals are a top predator and need to be conserved if we want to continue living. They keep our oceans in balance, and therefore keep our oxygen supply in balance as well.
   comment# 15   - Des · Canada · Sep 25, 2008 @ 2:07pm

catching the shark on a fly rod? simply amazing
   comment# 16   - the next president · inside your mind · Dec 16, 2008 @ 8:46am

For all those who think that killing a shark like this is a good idea--because you think they're going to kill off your billfish or because you think they're going to eat children: it's not a good idea to kill the sharks at all. They are critical to the ecosystems that support both billfish and people. We are connected.
   comment# 17   - Matt Rigney · Conway, MA · Apr 23, 2009 @ 10:48am

live in coffs harbour .went out one day with my dad caught some slimys then went out fishing. dad got sea sick so took him back in. went back out on my own. was on the drift when i notied a mako eyeing me off so i butterflyed a slimy and theww it to him he saw it hit like a fright train swam through the water about 50 meters then took one almighty jump in the air and bit me off it was owsome
   comment# 18   - Rob · australia · Jun 13, 2009 @ 11:57pm

The comments about killing the shark are unbelievable especially from elizabeth...I'd like to know how many of your children, family and friends have been killed by sharks elizabeth? I fish and release sharks all the time, I scuba and snorkel with them frequently and they are usually more scared of us than them. Fact is, the statistics about being struck by lightning also takes into account the fact that around a billion people hit the waters around the US beaches every year. Out of that perhaps a dozen or so people get bit and the last time there were fatalities of note were 2 in Florida in 2002 or 2003 IIRC. Wow Elizabeth were both of those 2 your family and friends? Fact is people kill far more sharks than vice versa. Most shark bites in California occur with surfers who look like seals on their surfboards - it's rare that a swimmer gets bitten. And in most cases when a great white, for example, bites a person they invariably let go and leave after realizing the person is not a seal. They are far from the bloodthirty killers pictured in Jaws which by the deceased author's own admission was flawed factually. Anyone who thinks otherwise (like elizabeth) is operating in ridiculous ignorance. Now if elizabeth can tell us honestly that her friends, famil and children have been killed by sharks I will retract all I have written and apologize to her.
   comment# 19   - Ben · Key West, FL · Aug 18, 2009 @ 10:03am

i will stay home and never go up there
   comment# 20   - hailey dixon · wyoma · May 17, 2010 @ 9:12am

Go easy on Elizabeth; she may have lost a loved one, or more. Or it may be a joke. Either way, all life on earth is here for good reason. Respect and caution. Oh, and WAY TO GO, BRENDAN!!! :-D And, yes, my real surname is "Mako." ;-)
   comment# 21   - Nancy Mako · New York, USA · Oct 13, 2010 @ 3:29pm

I seriously doubt Elizabeth had any loved ones lost to sharks considering the odds of that are about 1 in 300,000,000, yes that's 300 million, I'd bet that she is an example of ignorant prejudice rather than a family tragedy. I've swum with sharks, fished for them, and spend lots of time in the water areas known for sharks. I've never been bitten, let alone killed by one. Respect and caution, yes, but that's not what Elizabeth is calling for, she is calling for the murder of any animals that don't fit her idea of cute and cuddly...
   comment# 22   - Ben · Key West, FL · Feb 27, 2011 @ 1:53pm

Thank you for showing us that some people are kind enough to let this gorgeous creatures go.
   comment# 23   - Linda Davidson · bloomington,IL · Jun 29, 2011 @ 8:53pm

Dang, you pulling a 600 pound shark. very impressive....unless your on steroids.
   comment# 24   - Peter · Phoenix, Arizona · Nov 16, 2011 @ 4:47pm

yo, brendan, hope you get lots of time on the water this year, hope also you don't get bored with your job, perhaps when your well healed finantialy you could become a full time guide.
   comment# 25   - TYLER SIG HARSTAD · kamloops,b.c. · Apr 14, 2012 @ 7:36am
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