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Most fishermen would have reached for their harpoons -- or
hightailed it back to shore. But veteran charter-boat captain Donnie
Braddick, 30, wanted to set a world record, so he got out his rod and
reel and began baiting the water off Montauk, Long Island, where
some large sharks had been seen feeding on a dead whale. With him was
renowned shark hunter Frank Mundus, 60, who is said to have inspired
the character Quint in Jaws. Braddick was in fact on Mundus's 42-foot
boat, the Cricket II. This, to be sure, was no ordinary fishing
It ended late Wednesday afternoon when Braddick, using
150-pound-test nylon line and a lot of elbow grease, pulled in a
17-foot, 3,450-pound great white shark, believed to be the largest
such fish ever caught with rod and reel. It far surpassed the
previous record catch, a 2,664-pound great white caught off Australia
in 1959. ''This is it,'' declared Mundus. ''There are no world
records after this.''
Actually, Mundus himself caught a larger shark (4,500 pounds)
using a harpoon back in 1964, and an estimated 7,000-pounder was
brought in with commercial fishing equipment off Cuba in 1943. But
Braddick's was an extraordinary catch, one so heavy it broke the
inch-thick rope used to hoist it. There is a possibility that it
won't be officially recognized as a record by the International Game
Fish Association because Braddick's line exceeded the 130-pound
strength limit set by the IGFA for such attempts, but that matter
won't be decided until this week.
The shark, whose head and tail will be stuffed by a taxidermist
(Braddick isn't sure exactly where he'll put it), was a male
estimated to be 35 years old. His teeth were up to 2 1/2 inches long
(the great white is a man-eater), and his liver weighed an
astonishing 780 pounds (suggesting, perhaps, that he drank like a
fish). Though the American Museum of Natural History in New York had
asked to be given the shark's stomach contents, a dissection found
none. He is thought to have disgorged any during his two-hour
struggle on Braddick's line.
Montauk Marine Basin officials emphasized that swimmers need not
be alarmed by the catch, which took place 25 miles offshore. ''The
sharks have probably always been out there,'' said dockmaster Tommy


JAMES MARSHALL Braddick (left) and Mundus joined forcesto haul in a 17-foot, 3,450-pound great white shark.