On September 23, 2014, the Susie E II reeled in a massive, 398 pound female Porbeagle Shark, the largest ever taken on the East End, and the third largest ever caught worldwide. This is a pending NYS record.
The three-man group that hired the boat that day had come out from New Jersey and up-Island for an all-day charter trip, and we had set up about 20 miles south of the Point. We began the day tuna fishing, but we weren’t having much luck, so we set up for shark. We had four baits out, and the shark hit the top one and took it all the way to the bottom. For the next 45 minutes, she stayed down and we watched her swim along with the boat on the sonar machine, not taking any big runs like you might expect from a Mako or a Thresher. A little less than an hour after we first hooked her, she came back up to the surface, and it was pretty much a tug of war to work her onto the boat.
We had no idea that we had hooked into a Porbeagle, because they are a rare species of shark that is usually found in the colder waters of Canada and Maine. Adults also usually grow to about 300 pounds, so when we identified it and realized how big it was, we knew we had a once-in-a-lifetime fish on our hands.
Back at the dock the shark weighed out at a little less than 400lbs, an absolute monster for this breed of shark. The all-tackle world record is 507lbs, and the next biggest is in the 400’s. This is the third largest Porbeagle ever caught on rod and reel, and we have submitted all the paperwork to the New York State DEC to certify the catch.
The Porbeagle Shark is a rare visitor to the Montauk fishery. A relentless predator, the shark is distributed across the temperate regions of the globe, ranging from Newfoundland to Morocco in the North Atlantic. Typically weighing up to 300lbs, the porbeagle is powerfully built, with a barrel-shaped body, a long pointed snout, and five pairs of prominent gill slits, along with a distinctive white blotch on the bottom of its dorsal fin. September to November is their mating season, and their delicious meat is among the most valuable and highly-sought after of any shark.
The guys who chartered the boat had us clean and cut up all that sharkmeat for them to take home. Since they recognized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime catch for the Susie E, they were nice enough to let us have the tail, dorsal fins and the head, which will be mounted and displayed at our berth at Westlake Marina.