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Passed 'World Record' Thresher Shark, Not Quite Official; 'The World Record, I Don't Care About That Stuff'

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Dave Strege -- worldrecordthreher_sharkThe bigeye thresher shark weighed 952 pounds and was 150 pounds bigger than the world record.

That this massive creature was taken by an angler using stand-up gear rather than a fighting chair made the catch off Kona, Hawaii 11 days ago all the more monumental.

"No one has ever caught and weighed a bigger thresher in the world, let alone doing it on stand-up," said Tim Robertson, a captain that operates a charter boat out of Melton Tackle in Kona. "Everyone likes to say you can't catch big fish on stand up. Yes you can."

The angler, John Patterson of San Clemente, proved that. By doing so, he took away a sense of accomplishment but not a world record.

Unfortunately, the fish didn't comply with International Game Fish Association rules since three people handled the rod. But that's OK with Patterson.

"The world record, I don't care about that stuff," Patterson said. "That's just your name in a book that nobody reads."

Actually, it probably meant more to Robertson and fellow captain Bill Rhee, who have been trying to establish a recreational fishery for thresher sharks off Kona for two years and thought they could catch a world record.

In March, they caught and released 11 threshers in six night-time trips, and eight were an estimated 500 pounds-plus. They were all probably bigger, considering they underestimated Patterson's fish at 650 pounds.

They can't boast of a world record, but they can say they produced a Hawaiian record since its rules are less stringent. The previous record was 829 pounds.

Patterson, whose boat Marlin Magic II is in Kona, usually pursues blue marlin, but since that bite was slow, he agreed to take Robertson and Rhee and target swordfish and threshers by drifting at night.

Marlin Parker and Jason Holtz joined them. All are tournament anglers well versed in IGFA rules.

At dawn, Rhee finally caught and released a 200-pound thresher. Two other hookups were lost.

As Holtz started clearing the lines to get ready for trolling, one rod got bit. He asked what to do, essentially asking whether to follow IGFA rules. He was told to put it into free spool to see if the fish would eat the bait.

It did and Holtz set the hook and handed it off to Patterson, not thinking it was a world-record thresher. Patterson handed the rod off again to get into his fighting harness.

For 2˝ hours, Patterson reeled up the fish only to have it swim back down. They thought it was a swordfish.

"This fish is coming up pretty readily, then the fish stops again," Patterson said. "This time the run is faster, deeper and harder than any run it's made."

Patterson knew they weren't IGFA compliant so he asked Rhee if he wanted to finish off the battle. He did.

"The fish never made another run," Patterson said.

The fight was already over. Rhee was left with reeling in 1,000 yards of line and a docile shark that was easily subdued.


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

Reader Comments

28 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

I am appalled at this story and this so called 'sports' fisherman should be ashamed of his actions. This guy's moronic ego has taken a highly valuable fish out of the gene pool. Game fishing if allowed at all should only be tag and release. Darwinian depredation of the gene pool is the cost of eliminating large breeding species.
   comment# 1   - nereus · Taiwan · Apr 11, 2007 @ 7:45am

The 952 Thresher Shark was caught on the boat Marlin Magic II off the Kona coast. The Captain was Marlin Parker and the mate was Jason Holtz. You might want to add a little about the crew. Tight Lines Capt. Marlin Parker
   comment# 2   - Capt. Marlin Parker · Kailua Kona Hawaii · Apr 12, 2007 @ 1:18pm

Capt. Marlin Parker - NOBODY needs to hear any more details about this sensless slaughter. Game fisherman our cowards, who cruise around in their high tech boats and prey on these majestic animals. How about you take all the high tech gadgets away, the fiberglass rods, and jump in the water man vs beast and take that animal down? OH because you can't, your a bunch of saddle bagging wimps!
   comment# 3   - Brendan Maas · Philadelphia PA · Apr 13, 2007 @ 9:58am

This has got to stop, 50/60 years ago if you shot a Tiger/Lion you would string it up and pose next to it. That it totally unexceptable these days. How come its allowed with these magnificent fish ???
   comment# 4   - Paul · Reading, UK · Apr 15, 2007 @ 2:07pm

hey how long is the longest white shark, whith metre/m. and were is there most?
   comment# 5   - kim · københavn · Apr 18, 2007 @ 7:38am

y'all are ill it rate peeple hoo cant speel
   comment# 6   - mary chaise · el cajon ca · Apr 22, 2007 @ 9:14am

I am appalled at the people who posted comments on this website. As I read them, I picture a bunch of kids wearing helmets and sitting on a bus. I hope the bus drives off the end of the pier and feeds all of the little fishies in the ocean. Except, then, the little fishies would grow to "world record" sizes and attract a new batch of uneducated illiterate nincompoops to try catching them. God Bless Amerika.
   comment# 7   - mary chaise · dewlap, USA · Apr 22, 2007 @ 9:30am

did u people even read the article, "they caught and released 11 threshers in six night-time trips" threshers are one of the more abundant deep water sharks with almost no commerical fishery depleting their numbers, they took one that should have been a world record, not to mention threshers are probably the best tasting shark, so i doubt any went to waste. I hate seeing big sharks get killed but this was a hell of a catch, i would have done the same thing
   comment# 8   - adrian · New Jersey, U.S. · Apr 23, 2007 @ 7:52pm

So the big-eye thresher weighed 952 pounds. Wow! What was its length? I assume it was measured. How many feet long was it? Could you kindly publish that statistic? I must say that my sympathies are with those who would like to have seen those who caught it tag and release this magnificent creature to return its genes to the gene-pool. Nor do I find Adrian’s apologetic defense that, after all, the crew had already caught and released 11 threshers of half the size of this one, even minimally persuasive. Equally ineffective are Adrian’s doubts that any of the fish went to waste. Adrian seems not to grasp the concept of gene-pools. He doesn’t seem get it. Nor should Adrian’s detestation of the killing of big sharks impress anyone, since the only part of a sentence like that proclaiming his hatred of such kills that matters is what comes after ‘but’. Thus far, Adrian: “I hate seeing big sharks get killed, but…I would have done the same thing.” He would have done what he hates, reducing his hate to meaningless rhetoric. Who cares what he hates when he tells us he would act otherwise?
   comment# 9   - T. Jones · Arcata, CA · May 5, 2007 @ 5:32pm

Why are all you environmentalists even commenting on something that was already done? Your comments are a complete waste of precious bandwidth here, and will make NO IMPACT on the continued slaughter of these beauties of the deep. JOIN GREENPEACE INSTEAD!!!
   comment# 10   - Dilberto · Indio, USA · May 21, 2007 @ 12:14am

It's sad to see so many people who have never been anywhere or done anything in their lives pass judgements so quickly about hunting or fishing. IT's true that the human race makes life difficult for the other species we share the planet with. But this one size fit all belief that we shouldn't endeavor to catch or harvest anything at all is poppycock. If sportfishing interests had there way, these ocean rogues would benefit from international protection from longlines and drift nets. Look at it like this. Catching a thresher is the only way a human will ever see this magnificent creature. The rod fisherman is like a person heating there home with fuel oil or wood heat. And irresponsible commercial fishing is like oil companies or coal plants being built across China. Does the family with a woodstove deserve the distinction of tree killer or the villian perpetuating global warming. True most of the large sharks in many parts of the world are truly overfished and far below historic population levels. But I encourage the critics to learn what they can, embrace common sense, and leave the Peta speeches for Pamela Anderson. Sport fishing has endorsed positive changes around the world. And Sport fisherman are doing what's instinctive for humans to do. Explore, participate, hunt, gather, and try to understand the living ocean around us. As opposed to sitting in traffic or an office or spending their day on a computer. All very un natural ways to spend time. Great catch
   comment# 11   - Captain Whalen · Friday Harbor WA · Jun 15, 2007 @ 2:04pm

AY AY Captain Whalen! And not to mention the millions of dollars invested by sport fishermen that goes into state fisheries, hatcheries , studies, stocking and other efforts to expand and help conserve future marine and wildlife species. Sport fishermen and hunters do more for are planet then any of this snibbling activist do for it. Sure we take some stock and some are trophy which get the headlines but let go of that tree long enough to do some research and you will find the truth and it will set you free.
   comment# 12   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska Texas · Jun 15, 2007 @ 9:50pm

If this isn't bad enough, have you people heard about farmers breeding with lions so that rich cowards can pay the farmer to be able to "hunt" down the lion and pose for a photo near a dead lion. It is totally acceptable according to South African law, but how do one approach this kind of scenario? The farmers argue that the lions belong to them as they paid for them legally, so they can do with them as they please.
   comment# 13   - jeffrey james · cape town,south africa · Sep 11, 2007 @ 3:01am

Do any of you bleeding hearts ever eat cow? Dont hear any one complaining about the gene-pool there. Mooo. Ever eat seafood? Stop crying you tofu munching so and so...
   comment# 14   - Gus Barber · Perth, Austraila · Nov 27, 2007 @ 10:30pm

Nice SHARK!!!!!!!!!
   comment# 15   - joey · kona HI · Dec 1, 2007 @ 6:08am

this is a once in a lifetime achievement, however, it should be a tag & release sport so that we do not get pictures of these monsters in our encyclopedias reflecting what we should have done to protect them
   comment# 16   - venesh ramraj · durban - south africa · Jan 8, 2008 @ 5:29am

Simple facts here. Fish was 118" short measurement, 232" including the tail, girth was 70", stump of tail was 33". The fish came up dead or lifeless if you would like. We have released bigger previously, and released close to 40 in the last 3 years, this was the only one we have killed in the last two years. These are great sport fish and can contribute greatly to our economy by catch and release. Now if you want to get rid of the real problem plaguing our oceans look at the commercial industry, there are commercial boats that go out and kill 50 Threshers in one set that the dump the carcases. I don't see a relevant comment from any conservationist on this post, it's just a bunch or uneducated rhetoric targeting the wrong people. Typical self righteous clueless idiots that are no help to the environment or managing it. The sport fishermen and hunters by their appreciation of nature are the best conservationist I see, now it's not perfect, we still have a few idiots in our midst, but for the most part WE are trying and making a difference, but the commercial fishing industry is tough and corrupt so if any of you right winger want to ACTUALLY do something STOP buying, Marlin, Shark, Swordfish and Tuna in restaurants or at the super market... Marlin Parker has released hundreds of Blue Marlin and is a great ambassador for Hawaii. Tag and Release!
   comment# 17   - Tim Robertson · Kona, HI · Mar 26, 2008 @ 4:29pm

Kudos to you Tim, not to mention the conservation exhibited when we caught and released the estimated 650lb. thresher in February on the Deuce. People in general don't appreciate the extent taken by the true sportfisherman of the world to protect our limited resource with catch and release. By and large the majority of us only take what will be consumed (1 fish at a time) unlike the raping of the oceans by unregulated longliners and purse seiners which produce 1000's of tons of senseless bycatch a year. If the layperson truly understood what minuscule impact we present on the environment they wouldn't be commenting as they do coming off as uninformed. Mahalo
   comment# 18   - Dave Schaffer · Orange, CA · Apr 28, 2008 @ 9:01pm

Wow!Those are some really good ideas.
   comment# 19   - Jed · Cochabamba, Bolivia · Oct 4, 2008 @ 11:06am

nice shark bin fishin all my life only evere caught one thresher it was 426 pound and 5.2 feet long keep on fishin.
   comment# 20   - bobsy · kona usa · Jan 14, 2009 @ 11:27am

all you people out there saying that it is sooo bad to bring in one fish truly dont know the sport because if you did you would know how many fish we dont bring in only two days agao i released my 11th marlin(all have been released and not counting the marlin caught on my boat) and considring i am only 12 years old and already have two world records that is a pretty good acomplishment.
   comment# 21   - jordan davis · dallas, TX · Mar 20, 2009 @ 7:02am

kill and eat that sucker thats a pretty big 1 nice job landing him
   comment# 22   - johnny ryan · santee ca usa · Apr 23, 2009 @ 10:34pm

I catch many shark in scottish waters and tag and release them, and can see both anglers and conservationists points of view . Hopefully this fish did not go to waste and was used possibly to supply many local restaurants/hotels or other places. What really annoys me are the commercial long liners who indiscriminately kill over a million sharks every year, hacking off thier fins and throwing them back alive,this to me seems very barbaric and unnecessary
   comment# 23   - Lee Edwards · Linlithgow West Lothian scotland · May 6, 2009 @ 11:22am

Ever hear the phrase "fishery collapse". Its been definitely linked to taking top end (apex) predators. DO NOT SUPPORT THESE GUYS that take these apex predators. Boycott sport fishing altogether. Most of these morons have really expensive high tech boats and there is hardly any sport at all in this slaughter. Dont support , and write your congressmen that you want this slaughter regulated with NOAA observers on every boat that goes out to supervise the "taking" of these rare animals. Sure, we might have alot of them in Kona, but that is because we are at the focal point of the migration path that has taken place for milions of years...a miracle of evolution...these dummies do not realize that they could take naturalists out and show them these wonders and make more money than murdering these magnificent animals jsut so they can get theri picture taken and brag at the bar about what accomplished anglers they who gives flying fudge.\ Ive seen them take big sharks and cut their bellies open and spill out the almost completely developed embryos...Ive seen 40 pups spill out and they jsut get dumped dead into the water, and the carcess gets towed out to sea and its a total waste. Just overt malicious disregard for nature. BOYCOTT THEM AND LET THE STATE OF HAWAII know your maximum displeasure.
   comment# 24   - HOWARD HOFELICH · kailua kona hawaii · Jun 4, 2009 @ 2:46am

Beautiful shark! Wish they came like that in Cali!I tend to side with the Sharkers as I'm one myself what's left to say?
   comment# 25   - Shilo C. · Ventura,California, USA · Dec 21, 2009 @ 2:56pm

why is everyone who posts on here such a female reproductive organ? I have canine teeth for a reason, because god wanted us to eat meat...There is obviously a healthy enough population or we would not be allowed to fish for them...whats the problem, go cry about something else.
   comment# 26   - mikes · lynbrook, USA · Jun 18, 2011 @ 12:12pm

Hmph. I know one of the people in this story, and was thinking of getting in touch again. He used to practice catch and release in freshwater. Guess he changed his mind and became one of these idiots who thinks it's worth killing a magnificent creature so they can take a picture standing beside it, grinning like idiots. These people are 50 years behind the times.
   comment# 27   - Chris · Winnipeg, Canada · Feb 8, 2012 @ 10:11am

I live on the Gulf Coast, I catch and release big Redfish, Trout, and the likes because they do not taste as good. If this fish was eaten, it would not have tasted as good as a smaller one. Its common knowledge, the younger the better. I had Mako last night and I know the gentleman that caught the "FISH". It was a 5 foot'er, just perfect for eating. He donated the meat to a local restaurant and we all had a great meal. Shame on me and the people telling you what is and what isn't right, Tim. In that respect... awesome catch, but you should have let this one go, Bro...For the Save The Magnificent Fish Lovers out there, go fishing, do what you think is right, stop pushing your preferences and opinions on others and have fun! Just an "FYI"... only educated people are taken seriously, so learn how to spell, and If I offended anyone....Good, because ignorance is not tolerated. Have a great day, all!
   comment# 28   - Darrell · Friendswood, U.S.A.! · Aug 21, 2012 @ 3:28pm
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