By Pete Thomas, via GrindTv
There are fish tales, and there are fish tails.
This tale involves a common thresher shark, caught recently off Florida, which boasted a tail so long that it boosted the predator’s overall length to about 20 feet.
Common thresher sharks are also referred to as long-tailed thresher sharks, but even so, this shark's tail seemed to resemble the rib bone of a whale.
“Normally a thresher’s tail is about as long as its body, but you’re right, this one had an abnormally long tail,” said Mark “the Shark” Quartiano, a popular but controversial fishing guide based in Miami.
The guide estimated the tail fin to measure perhaps 13 feet. Overall, it's the largest thresher he has encountered, and he claims to have caught hundreds of them.
The shark was reeled in by a female angler, after a two-hour battle, from a depth of 590 feet.
It was not weighed before the meat was processed, but Mark the Shark estimated the weight at between 700 and 750 pounds.
For the sake of comparison, the International Game Fish Association lists a 767-pound thresher, caught in 1983 off New Zealand, as the all-tackle world record.
Thresher sharks, which have small mouths, use their scythe-like tail fins to kill, stun or even shred schooling fish, such as mackerel, sardines and anchovies.
On Tuesday, Mark the Shark posted the accompanying image on Instagram, under the description: "Moose common thresher over 19' long ate a 15 lb bluefish on the bottom in 590' of water!"
The guide added multiple hashtags, including #veryrare, #monsterfish, #catchingmonsters, and #nothinggetsaway. (Mark the Shark is controversial mainly because he targets sharks, and doesn't release as many as some people would like.)
While this was the largest thresher he has caught, and could possibly have weighed as much or more than the IGFA record, it falls far shy of what might be the largest thresher ever landed.
In 2007, a 32-foot thresher shark was caught in a net off Cornwall, England. It weighed 1,250 pounds, but because it was landed by a commercial fisherman with trawl gear, it could not have qualified for an IGFA record.
Mark the Shark explained that the 20-foot thresher was kept at the request of his clients. “The shark fed a lot of people,” he said.