Record 385-pound shark reeled in with fly tackle


MIAMI (AP) – A doctor with a slew of world fishing records added another to his collection when he caught a 385-pound lemon shark on fly tackle, the International Game Fish Association said.

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 Tuesday.

“We brought it in alive and we released it alive,” Arostegui said in a telephone interview. “That to me is what made the catch very special.”

Arostegui caught the lemon shark 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. He 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 the 5-foot-tall Arostegui.

They needed a fisherman and a guide who were nearby to help restrain the 71/2-foot long fish and haul it aboard. After a 60-day waiting period, the fishing association confirmed the record catch.

The previous record for heaviest fish on fly tackle – a 356-pound goliath grouper, also known as jewfish – had been on the books since March 15, 1967.

Last year, Arostegui, of Coral Gables, received a lifetime achievement award from the IGFA for over 100 world record catches through 2004.