New Jersey Fishermen Reel in 510-Pound Shark After 3-hour Battle

Three men fishing off the New Jersey coast said they reeled in a 510-pound, 8-foot-long shark after a 3-hour battle with the animal.

“I feel like I’ve aged 20 years just fighting that thing. It could pull you into the water. It took three grown men taking turns to fight that shark. It’s literally man versus beast. It’s intense,” Joseph Egitto, 27, told Woodbridge Patch Media.

Egitto, 42-year-old Pat Salvato, and 25-year-old Frank Pomponiowere were fishing at a spot known by locals as “Monster Lodge,” about 30 miles east of Sandy Hook island in the Atlantic Ocean on Aug. 18, when their boat started rocking up and down—a heavy animal had latched onto the bloody fish they hooked as bait.

The Staten Island men, who had strapped themselves onto a harness for safety, took turns holding and reeling in the fishing line during the three hours it took to get the monstrous shark onto their small boat, Fox News reported.

But the 510-pound Thresher shark proved too big to fit on their boat, so the men, all Staten Island Fishing Club members, secured it to the side of their boat and slowly towed it back to shore—which took another three hours.

“It was intense. Three hours of fighting and we landed him, thank God,” Egitto told SILive.com. “It was nuts; I’m just baffled.”

“We needed everyone on this boat; teamwork made it happen,” Egitto, who said he drives the 23-foot boat, told Patch. “We wouldn’t have any of these sharks without teamwork.”

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The trio of club members Joey , Pat and Frank at it again with another huge thresher shark 510 pounds to be exact ,good job!!!!!

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The fishermen told the news outlet that they had already eaten the shark, just like they do every catch. But Egitto said in the future, if the animal weighs less than 500 pounds, they’ll release it.

“Yes, I do feel bad killing it and if we catch another one and it’s not bigger than 500 pounds we will let him go,” he told Patch. “We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year supporting the fishing industry. We try to preserve the ocean, we don’t try to hurt the ocean. I just want everyone to know that this shark won’t go to waste,” he said.

The men said they usually spend as many as six days a week fishing on the waters, trying to catch something big.

“We try to fish every day and that it’s nice, every weekend and usually five to six times a week,” Egitto added. “There are big fish out there.”

Great white shark file photo Getty
A file photo of a great white shark in Gansbaai, South Africa, on Oct. 19, 2009. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Monster Lodge is a special area for fishing large animals because because the ocean floor drops from about 120 feet to 260 to 300 feet, reported Patch. Large tuna, bluefish, and sharks are common catches in the area, which is about in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Sharks are especially abundant in the area, the outlet reported.

Egitto said he caught two other Thresher sharks earlier this month—a 275-pound one and 420-pound one.

The Staten Island men’s catch was still almost 200 pounds shy of beating the record for saltwater fish caught in New Jersey. Angler Bennett Fogelberg caught a 683-pound Thresher shark in Fingers in 2009, according to New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.