ILSFA World Record #05

Shortfin Mako Shark - Florida - Earnest Dewey Polk III

A rare, documented, land-based capture of a shortfin mako -- not the first for this world record holder.










Navarre Beach


Species & Line Class:

shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus)  / 130 lb / All-Tackle




Total Length:

134 inches / 11 feet, 2 inches


Fork Length:

120 inches / 10 feet



69.5 inches / 5 feet, 9.5 inches


Estimated Formula Weight = fork length X (girth X girth) / 800

Estimated Weight = 725 lbs


Actual Weight:

Actual Weight = 674 lbs


Date of Capture:

February 23, 2009


Released Y/N:




Earnest Dewey Polk III


Additional Record Info:

Earnest reflects on the sport and capture of this new world record:


"I really appreciate all the good replies from every one. Its nice to be able to let the fishermen know what we done. These fish we are catching are the poor mans big game fish. We don't have to spend million$ to catch a big fish. It may be a nasty ole shark but they sure do stretch the line. Our crew will be tagging the next mako unless he is bigger than the last one. The only sharks we keep are mature ones that are not in good shape. The ones that go north get eaten.


You don't do this alone. It's a team effort. One man could not handle a big fish at the hill. I have froze my butt off so many nights to reel in a 300lb wad of sea weed. We wore the statistics out. Don't fish rough water. You will die. We have three 16/0's one 14/0 with 130 or 160 dacron. The larger line gives a better fray factor. I usually paddle the bait between 200yds to 500yds. We use bait of all kinds. To be a shark fisherman ya gotta produce bait. I caught a cig that a king ate. A 55lb cuda cut him in half. I caught the cuda that the mako ate, and we caught the mako that the rednecks eat.


We got lucky this time, not so much catching the fish as getting back to the beach alive. 2 of the 3 baits were out, the lines were crossed so Sean was reeling one of the two back in. While I was waiting my reel went off. I set the hook with my life vest on. She probably watched and followed me. She kept the pressure on but only broke drag a couple times, until she got close. We knew it was big, but when the dorsal popped up we knew it was a mako. It looked like jaws. When she got even with us she ran about 200 yds straight south. Every time it got close to the sandbar it would run again, usually about 100 yds, the whole time on the top, The fifth time Sean got a hand on the leader. I threw the reel out of gear stabbed it in the sand and grabbed the tail rope. She nosed up on the beach and would not turn sideways to the beach. It was spinning and trashing and would not let me rope here. I had to wade almost neck deep around behind her, and tie the rope around the tail. We drug it as far up as 2 men can, but it could still swim off. It almost got back in the water 2 times. 45 minutes before we could let go of the rope.


We wound up 100yds down the beach so I pushed her back in and got out about chest deep and pulled her back even with the truck. She was still alive, but out of gas. It took 15 men to load it. We took garbage bags and filled them with ice and draped them over its back. It was very cold and did not melt the ice very fast . We had to refill the bags one time. We had it completely butchered by 1:30. No meat went to waste. Rednecks all over the county is grilling right now.


By the way she weighed 674 lbs on the scale and one fin was still touching the ground. The NOAA chart said 700lbs it was close. Total was 11'2" and fork was 10' even". Here's to fishing another day.


Quote from back of submitted photos says it all: '4:30pm. Cold as hell. Can't feel my feet, but don't care'. He also points out mating marks on her back and old scar near the anal fin.


Footnote - Sean Paxton, ILSFA Founder & President:

"When a fish such as this is occasionally harvested and responsibly utilized by a dedicated and respecting sportsman such as Earnest Polk, it's also serves as a guiding example of the responsible enjoyment and use of our natural resources. As well, it serves as an illustration of the reliability and credibility of the standards the ILSFA utilizes to recognize and certify world records for released fish. In this case, we have the actual scale weight of 674 pounds, held against the NOAA estimated weight charts of 700 pounds and the ILSFA's standard of estimated weight at 725, proving out an average of 700 pounds and a negligible margin of error in either direction".

Earnest Polk with his tried and trusted Penn Senator 16/0 and record-setting rig.
L - R: Earnest Polk alongside team members Monica Polk and Sean Watson.