Animals: Sharks by Grey

Fresh-water anglers find exciting and beautiful the sight of a 12-in. trout leaping clear of a mountain stream. That seems tame to Novelist-Fisherman Zane Grey. He has seen monsters long and heavy and fierce as tigers hurtle themselves 30 ft. above the deep sea. In the current Natural History magazine, out last week, he told about them in the first account ever published of a shark that leaps when hooked.

Scientists call the shark Isuris, most laymen call it “mackerel shark” (because it eats mackerel and looks a little like one) and New Zealand fishermen, who hate & fear it, call it “the great mako.” It lives mostly in the South Seas and off New Zealand but, straying over the world, it has been seen as far north as Cape Cod. Largest ever caught was hooked off New Zealand in 1931 by one H. Wickham-White. It was 11ft. 6 in. long, 6 ft. 2 in. in girth and weighed 798 Ib. No man-eating has been proved against the mako, but fishermen who have fearfully watched its great, jagged teeth snap their oars, rip off their rudders and crunch their boats’ sides would rather not make the test. Fisherman Grey puts mako fishing in a class with tiger and elephant hunting for thrill and danger. Largest game fish ever caught with rod & reel was Zane Grey’s 1,040-lb. marlin. But the mako is the only shark which will take fast-moving bait, and at leaping, it is unsurpassed. Tarpon and sailfish also leap clear of the water, but not so high. And like those of tuna and marlin which thresh on the surface, their bodies, gills, fins and tails quiver in the air. The mako soars up stiff as a poker. For a moment it hangs motionless at 20 or 30 ft., blue of back, white of belly; its great pectoral fins spread wide. Then it flips over, falls back broadside to the sea with the splash of a wrecked airplane.

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