The fish then jumped into their small fishing boat and trashed it. Photo courtesy of Tom Rostron Jr. / courtesy of Tom Rostron Jr.
Manasquan, NJ -- Two anglers shark fishing east of Manasquan Inlet got a surprise when a 303-pound, 8-foot, 4-inch mako shark leapt into the bow of their 31-foot boat. Then proceeded to eat the boat.
"It was epic. He back flipped right in," said Clint Simek, of Brielle, who still sounded stunned by the shark's theatrics as he retold the story Wednesday, a day after the wild encounter. Simek along with Capt. Tom Rostron, Jr., of Wall, were on Rostron's boat the TNT. It was just the two of them. "It's real early in the season for sharks. Usually you don't go shark fishing with only two guys in a boat," said Rostron who was equally in awe when he spoke. "But Clint and I wanted to pre-fish the tournaments. We had no intentions of boating the biggest fish we ever have."
The mako fishing tournaments they were scouting water for are the Brett Bailey Mako Rodeo, Mako Mania and Mako Fever. All tournaments are out of the Manasquan River. The Brett Bailey is June 14 and 15, and the Mania and Fever are both the weekend of June 21-23. In hindsight, Rostron said they were lucky to not have a third person on board because chances are the shark would have killed one of them. The two had just motored south, leaving an area where they caught and released 14 blue sharks. The day began with six-foot swells on the ocean, but by the afternoon the wind died. When they made their move the water was flat and there was no drift.
Shortly after they set up their bait they got a visit. "At 3:30 this big thing comes into the slick," said Simec. Rostron said the fish swam by the side of the boat and starting getting aggressive, eating all the balloons that marked their baits. "We were trying to feed bait to him. I reeled up our deep rod and felt him eat the bait," said Rostron. "As soon as he felt the hook, he shot 15 feet in the air." Known for jumping, this mako would perform five total jumps. On the fourth leap it landed two feet from the starboard bow and sprayed both anglers with water. Then it circled under the boat, returned on the port side, rushed out of the water and landed in the boat. "At first we were in shock when he was in the boat. Then he started thrashing and we were like 'Oh My God, we have a big problem, this thing is going to eat us,' " Rostron said.
The shark was way too green. From the time it was hooked to the time it jumped in the boat was only 25 seconds, Rostron said. Once in, it took over the nine-foot wide bow eating anything in its path including two broom sticks, cushions, and speakers. It stayed alive for two hours. "We stood in the back for a half hour before I gaffed it and Clint tied the tail. Then we wedged it into the side of the boat."
The fish was weighed in at Hoffman's Marina in Brielle. Rostron said the mako was the first caught inshore this season that he knew of. "Pretty amazing. Probably never going to happen again in our lives," Rostron said.