- Black sea bass have dangerously sharp spines on their dorsal fin that can puncture human skin.
- The all-tackle world record for black sea bass is 9 pounds, 8 ounces.
- When hooked in deep water and brought quickly to the surface, a black sea bass will often regurgitate its stomach contents.
Shortfin mako (Isurus)
The shortfin mako shark has a well-proportioned, streamlined body that allows it to swim very fast. It is considered the fastest shark and one of the fastest fish in the sea. The mako is a deep blue to blue gray on its back and sides, with a white belly. The larger first dorsal fin starts just behind the base of the pectoral fins, and the second dorsal fin is positioned slightly in front of the anal fin. Its tail fin is crescent shaped with nearly equal lobes. This shark has large black eyes and a long sharp nose. In addition, its teeth differ from other sharks. Instead of triangular teeth with serrations, the teeth are long, smooth and slightly curved.
The shortfin mako can be found in temperate and tropical waters throughout the world. Specific regions include the western Atlantic from the Gulf of Maine to southern Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. In the eastern Atlantic, shortfin mako are found from Norway to South Africa, including the Mediterranean Sea. In Indo-Pacific waters, shortfin mako range from east Africa to Hawaii, as far north as Primorsk Kray (far southeastern Russian region between China and the Sea of Japan) and south to Australia. In the eastern Pacific, mako are found as far north as the Alaskan Aleutian Islands through southern California and as far south as Chile.
Shortfin mako are primarily open-water sharks that are usually found in varying depths from the surface to 500 feet deep. However, it has been documented that the shortfin mako will enter water deeper than 1,300 feet. They are found all over the world except in cold waters, preferring waters ranging from the high 50s to 70 F with generally the larger shortfin mako able to tolerate the colder water. Shortfin mako are also seasonally migratory, traveling with the warm water as far as 1,500 miles.
It is believed that the mating season for the shortfin mako takes place in late summer to fall. The process includes males biting females on the belly, pectoral fins and the gill areas. Once fertilization has occurred, the total gestation period lasts between 15-19 months. Shortfin mako are ovoviviparous, meaning that the eggs hatch inside the mother, and the young are born alive. Often times, the unborn young will feed on each other while in their mothers uterus. Between 1 to 25 pups, depending on the size of the female, are born in the spring. They are usually around two feet in length at birth.
The shortfin mako is an aggressive hunter that uses its speed in hunting. Smaller mako will feed mainly on squid and fish, such as mackerel, herring and bonito. Larger mako will add billfish, other sharks and small cetaceans, which are marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises, to their diet. When attacking swordfish, shortfin mako will first disable the prey by shearing off its tail.
Due to its fighting ability and food quality the short fin mako is considered one of the ultimate prizes among sport anglers. Not only is the mako a fast and strong shark with an incredible endurance, it is known to jump as high as 20 feet in the air when hooked. Because of this jumping ability they have been known to jump into boats and cause severe damage and injuries.
Drifting or trolling, with at least a 30-pound line, are common methods when angling for the shortfin mako. For bait, live or dead whole mackerel, mullet, blue fish, herring or bonito are effective. In addition to chum lines, different baits should be used at different depths to effectively attract shortfin mako.
Whether fresh, frozen, smoked or salted, shortfin mako meat is similar to swordfish and considered excellent table fare. Like other sharks, shortfin mako should be cleaned as soon as possible after the catch. This helps reduce the uric acid in its flesh. In addition to its meat, the makos oil is used for vitamins, its fins are used for shark-fin soup and its skin is used for leather.
- The all-tackle world record for a shortfin mako is 1,115 pounds caught of Mauritius (a small island east of Africa in the Indian Ocean) in 1988.
- In addition to being typically found in deeper waters, the longfin mako has longer pectoral fins and a rounder nose compared to that of a shortfin.
- Swimming speeds of shortfin mako have been reliably clocked at 31 mph but there are also less reliable affirmations of swimming speeds up to 60 mph.