Florida Anglers Land 720-Pound Mako Shark While Fishing Cobia Tournament

A group of anglers dead-set on winning a cobia tournament opted to battle a 700-pound mako shark instead.

Randy Messer and friends had already landed a 40-pound cobia off Destin, Fla. when they spotted a goliath mako cruising just 15 feet below the surface. Messer tossed a live bait into the water and the two-hour battle began. The 700-pound apex predator fought for all its might; breaching the surface, flipping into the air, and towing the 40-foot Sure Lure two miles further out to sea.

"It was pretty impressive watching a 700-pound shark clear the water like that," skipper Don Dineen told Pete Thomas Outdoors. "It was doing flips and everything."

The crew secured the shark with a gaff but required the assistance of a deckhand from another boat to tie the tailrope.

It took five hours to tow the shark to the Fishing Fleet Marina dock. It was offloaded with a forklift before an estimated 300 onlookers who had gathered to see the massive fish.

"Word had spread about what we were bringing in," Dineen said. "I have a friend who owns a restaurant in the harbor and he told me his entire clientele cleared out when they saw the shark when we went by. They all ran over to watch us unload our catch."

The official weight of the mako is 720 pounds.

Dineen said seeing a mako this large that close to shore - only 30 yards beyond the surf - is rare but that the sharks often come in close to feed on cobia and tarpon. Evidence of this later came when tarpon scales and bones fell from the shark's mouth after it was hoisted.

The shark will be sold as table fare and the money procured will be donated to charity.