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Lightning can strike twice - 14/07/19


It has taken years to gather evidence for the list of British Mako captures.  My present list has 74 authenticated fish on it.  This has involved Lots of searching through SACGB archives and talking to anglers and skippers to verify captures.  Without a doubt there are still more genuine captures I am yet to find.  I would put the figure at probably 100 plus.  There are bound to be some small to medium sized sharks that were caught with less publicity, or from ports that didn’t always archive captures.  So let’s assume that we are dealing with about 100 rod caught UK Mako’s.  

For years hundreds of anglers a day have been sharking off our shores during the summer months in hope that one day a Mako will take their bait.   I’ve never met a shark angler that wouldn’t give his or her last quid, (or certain parts of their anatomy), to catch a British Mako and join the list of anglers who have achieved the ultimate.  So can you imagine how fortunate you would have to be to not only catch one, but two!  Surprisingly two anglers have done just that and recorded two Mako!

The first angler to achieve this feat was Mr A.M Simpson, and yes you’ve guessed it they were both caught on the “PAULA” out from Looe with Bill and Jack Butters at the helm.  Mr Simpson’s first was caught on July 4th 1956 and weighed in at 335.5lbs.  He had to wait two years for his next one 1958 (poor him) and this was a 324 pounder.  The odds on one angler catching two must be massive, but beat the odds he did and the very experienced SACGB member must have had major bragging rights in the pub later.  

The next angler to put his name firmly in the history books was Ted Belsten.  His first was caught in June 1965 on legendary Mako skipper Robin Vinnicombe’s boat “INTER-NOS” out from Falmouth.  It weighed 260lbs.  His second was also caught from Falmouth with Robin, but from his new boat “HUNTRESS”.  This was a 410 pounder caught in July 1967, another gap of only two years.  Both men said their sharks were magnificent fighters so I can see why they needed this short gap in-between.

By Ian Harbage