October 1, 2002
According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, a new state record thresher shark was taken two miles southeast of Monster Ledge on September 20. Jorge Pacheco of Neptune caught a 589-pound thresher shark that weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces more than the previous record taken five miles inshore of Triple Wrecks in 1997.
Pacheco was chum drifting when he caught the record shark on 80-pound test line using a little tunny filet for bait. The fish measured 14 feet 8 inches in length with a 73-inch girth.
Thresher sharks are found in the Atlantic from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Florida. This species has an enormously long tail fin with the upper lobe being a little longer than the head and body of the fish together. It is curved like the blade of a scythe with the contrasting lower lobe of the tail not much longer than the pelvic fin. Threshers are stout-bodied sharks with short snouts and blunt, rounded noses. Considered harmless to humans, the teeth are small and smooth edged. The color ranges from dark brown to blue-slate to black with a white belly. It is a deep-water species and feeds mainly on small schooling fishes such as bluefish, menhaden and mackerel, which it stuns with blows from its powerful tail.
The Record Fish Program honors the largest specimen of each species of fish caught in the State. It revolves around a specific list of eligible freshwater and saltwater species, and is based on weight alone (there are no line classes). Scale certification documentation and a weighmaster's signature are necessary. Other rules apply. For more information or to request an application, call 609-633-7768. Visit the Division's website at www.njfishandwildlife.com for a complete list of state record fish.