Doctor Catches 385-Pound Lemon Shark
A doctor with a slew of world fishing records added another one to his collection when he caught a 385-pound lemon shark on fly tackle, the International Game Fish Association said Tuesday.
Dr. Martin Arostegui caught the heaviest fish ever documented on fly tackle, beating out a nearly 40-year-old record, IGFA world records coordinator Rebecca Reynolds said.
"We brought it in alive and we released it alive," Arostegui told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "That to me is what made the catch very special."
Arostegui caught the lemon shark in flats near the Marquesas Keys west of Key West in early March.
He and Capt. Ralph Delph of Key West used a filleted barracuda tied to the boat to create a scent line that attracted the hungry shark, Arostegui said.
As he watched the shark approach, he switched to a fly rod with 12-pound tippet and a bright orange, 7-inch feathered fly streamer. Arostegui said he quickly moved it one time and hooked the fish.
He fought the fish for one hour, and at one point the shark opened its jaws and attacked Delph's 29-foot boat.
"He could have eaten half of me or even all of me in one bite," said Arostegui, who stands at 5 feet tall.
The next step was restraining and hauling aboard the dangerous shark. Delph gaffed it in the soft, fleshy part of its tail as Arostegui tied the fish in front of the tail with a cleated rope.
But the fish proved too heavy to bring aboard, so they enlisted the help of another fisherman and guide who were nearby. The four men wrestled the shark into a 10-foot long live well designed by Delph.
The 7 1/2-foot long fish was brought into Key West and weighed. After a 60-day waiting period, the fishing association confirmed the record catch, but placed it in the 16-pound tippet line class because Arostegui's weighed in at 13 pounds. A tippet is the part of a leader that a fly is attached to.
The previous record for heaviest fish on fly tackle was a 356-pound goliath grouper, also known as jewfish, caught by Bart Froth in Islamorada on 12-pound tippet. That record had been on the books since March 15, 1967.