“We’ve never really had one that’s charged the boat and slammed into it before,” Downs said of the ramming, “She was just pissed.”
By this time there were concerns about the line becoming chafed and fragile.
The team knew that if they couldn’t bring the fish to leader on the next opportunity, in all likelihood there would be no more chances.
“I said, ‘Guys, we have to get her this time — this is our fourth shot, we’re not going to get another chance,’ ” Downs recalled.
On the fourth attempt the team successfully gaffed and subdued this tremendous shark.
They made the weigh-in in plenty of time, but found out that the scale couldn’t handle a fish that size and only later got the official weight of 881 pounds.
“I’ve never seen a year with this many big fish,” organizer Von Leer said of the tournament. “I fished for 20 years before I ever saw a mako over 250 pounds.
“As far as I know, I believe that we had more big fish landed in order to qualify than any tournament ever.
“You couldn’t even be in the top three with a fish under 420 pounds.”
Check your listings to see footage of these local contests when the Outdoor Life Network airs them in November.