Fisherman love catching big fish. But when the catch is almost as long as the vessel you’re in and has extremely sharp teeth the day makes for one heck of a story.
On Thursday, July 23, just before 7 a.m., Austin Lorber and his fishing partner David Le were on kayaks about a mile and a half off of La Jolla. David threw out a mackerel and felt something take the bait.
“As soon as he hooked up we noticed a fish jump way out of the water, probably five or six feet,” said Lorber. “I looked back thinking it was a dorado because those are typically what will jump like that that we get around here. And then … I saw a shark. Makos around here are the only ones that will jump like that.”
The mako, typically an open-water swimmer, likely followed the abundance of bait and game fish in San Diego waters close to shore. Once David saw what it was he thought about just letting it go.
“He was kind of hesitant to bring it in but then I let him know that they’re great eating,” Lorber said. “Yes, they’re dangerous, but I was going to take care of the gaffing, which is really the dangerous part.”
Austin had his GoPro camera rolling to capture what happened next.
“It was already going for the kayak and I was lucky enough to sink the gaff right as it was about to bite the kayak," he said. "I just had to hold on to it for about 45 minutes as it dragged me around. I didn’t want to get my hand anywhere near that head until it had been tired for at least a half hour.”
After fishing for a few more hours for the yellowtail they had originally targeted, the shark eventually tired itself enough for Lorber, with the help of another kayak angler, to get it in to his fish hold and paddle it back to shore.
Representatives from the Department of Fish and Wildlife were at the landing. The 5-foot-long mako easily outran the 60-pound scale that was available so they estimated the fish to weigh around 100 pounds. Lorber, 31, has been fishing since he was a child, but this experience was something he’ll never forget.
“That was a bucket list moment, for sure. That’s number one for me easily,” he said.
The catch has certainly not gone to waste. As of Monday night he said he only had about 10 pounds of mako steaks left.
“Those are the best steaks in the ocean,” said Lorber, “those and thresher shark; beautiful, beautiful steaks.”
Lorber knows a thing or two about food. He and his brothers own Fratelli’s Italian Kitchen in San Marcos and Oceanside. Austin says he’s looking in to obtaining a commercial fishing license so he can serve his fresh catch at the restaurant.