Shark (Mako) Fishing (Isurus oxyrinchus)

All Tackle Record

Shark (Mako) Fishing (Isurus oxyrinchus)

Of all species of sharks, Makos are the most highly evolved. They have the largest brain to body ratio, are the fastest, their teeth are the sharpest, they are tolerant of the widest array of temperatures and are all-around super predators. They are sought by anglers worldwide for their phenomenal game qualities, but also for food.

Mako sharks are complex organisms, possessing a rudimentary intelligence, allowing them to actually learn certain behavioral patterns and memorize differentiating traits in order to discriminate prey from threat.

They are also one of only four shark species known to be endothermic and able to keep their body temperature higher than the surrounding water temperature. This allows for energy conservation and is one of the reasons behind Makos' ability to preform dashes of up to 46mph and aerial leaps up to 30ft.

The species is as apex as they get, massive with curved dagger-like teeth with which they don't hesitate of attacking similar sized prey such as dolphins, Swordfish and other sharks. As the matter of fact, a Mako specimen speared in the Bahamas was found to contain a whole 120lbs Swordfish. Further evidence of Makos' violent demeanour can be found in these shark attack statistics.

How big

The species grows to considerable sizes, with fish frequently caught between 6 and 10ft and 130 and 300lbs. The longest Mako caught was 14.6ft and the heaviest confirmed fish was a staggering 1750lbs, with unconfirmed reports of a monolithic 2200lbs Mako caught in Turkish waters in 1810.

When & Where

Mako sharks are distributed worldwide throughout tropical and temperate waters in depths of up to 500ft. They are normally found offshore, with the more abundant Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) occasionally landed closer to landmasses and in inlets. The Longfin Mako (Isurus paucus) is seldom caught and usually found far from land in warm waters such as the Gulf Stream.

Shortfin Makos are numerous in the western Atlantic and can be found from Nova Scotia to Argentina, including the Carribean Sea and the Gulf. Eastern Pacific waters see them from California to Chile, with a known rookery just off Mission Bay in San Diego.

Makos can also be found throughout south and west Australia up to Exmouth, off Tasmania and New Zealand. They are also a highly migratory species and have been recorded traversing the ocean thousands of miles on end.

Landed aboard Wahoo, off Sydney, AU

How to catch

As with most sharks, a good Mako hunt starts with chumming. With enough patience and in the right waters, a trail of chum is sure to draw a Mako close. The bloodier and oilier, the better. Getting animal blood from a butcher's shop beforehand and mixing it in with the chum is a serious Mako hunter's recipe.

Still fishing or trolling with whole or strip tuna, millet, mackerel or squid works well on Makos. They are also sometimes caught on a Marlin trolled skirt lure, but artificials can't compare to meat as far as sharks are concerned, especially since this species uses sight, smell and sound to hunt.

Makos are an exquisite game species, known for long and fast runs and spectacular jumps and flips. They are notorious for attacking boats and leaping into them once hooked, causing severe chaos, panic and harm to equipment and people on board.

Good to eat?

Yes, but only small sharks in the 20-40lbs range. Larger ones should not be boated for any reason.



  • Season - always open;
  • Size limit - 54'' FL minimum, except for Texas, where it's 64'' TL minimum;
  • Bag limit - 1 per boat per day, except for Florida, where it's 1 per angler or 2 per boat per day and California, where it's 2 per angler;
         Mexico allows keeping 1 shark, which counts as half of the normal daily limit of 10 fish;
  • Season - always open;
  • Victoria, New South Wales - 1 fish, no size limits;
  • South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland - no regulations;

       * Limits only apply to Shortfin Mako; harvest and possession of Longfin Mako is prohibited.


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Shark (Mako) Fishing Destinations