Local fisherman catches and releases giant mako shark - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local fisherman catches and releases giant mako shark

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - You may have heard of fly fishing for trout but what about fly fishing for sharks?

One local fisherman is hooking giant mako sharks off our coast using both conventional and fly fishing gear.

Conway Bowman – the brother-in-law of CBS News 8 meteorologist Shawn Styles – recently hooked a 1,000 pound mako off Catalina Island.

Over the summer, giant mako sharks appeared off the coast around the same time sport fisherman noticed a big increase in large blue-fin tuna.

“So, that bigger food item brought in those big makos and made it a tremendous fishing summer,” said Bowman, owner/operator of a local fishing charter.

Bowman also hosts a sports fishing show, The Outfitters, where he was videotaped hooking the monster mako using a conventional rod.

Bowman also fishes mako sharks using a heavy-duty fly fishing rod.

“It’s not your average trout fly that you'd use up in the Eastern Sierras. This is big stuff,” said Bowman.

His operation involves attracting mako sharks with chum bait and then hooking them with the fly rods.

“It’s amazing because you'll hook the fish right on the surface of the water. They'll come up and just grab it,” he said.

Fly fishing is different than trophy fishing in that all the mako sharks caught are released back into the ocean. None of them are killed.

“Shark populations around the world are down and a lot of it’s due to commercial fishing but also there's recreational fishing that's going on; shark tournaments, kill tournaments that are taking out a number of those larger sharks,” Bowman said.

The big makos are important to the ocean's ecology. Many of them are pregnant females that carry their offspring for up to 19 months, according to Bowman, which is why Bowman always releases his catches including that 1,000 pounder.

“I was really proud I caught it. But I was much more proud of releasing that fish and when that shark took off after releasing it was fine. So it felt pretty good,” he said.

Mako shark fishing season runs generally from early summer to early fall.

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