Strange But True: Jaws

Movie fans who saw the picture Jaws realized that they were seeing a kind of mechanical monster. After all, a real white shark would probably fail to follow the script when the movie director set the cameras rolling

On April 21, 1959, a fisherman named Alf Dean hooked a white shark near Ceduna, South Australia. This was no machine that followed its cues. The battle went on for a long time. When the great white shark was finally landed, it was measured. It weighed 2,664 pounds, was 16 feet, 10 inches long, and came to 9 feet, 6 inches in girth. It was the biggest fish ever landed by rod, reel, and hook.

From The Giant Book of More Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.


  1. man….fishing line is strong stuff
    (i hates it….but thats mostly coz my daily commute takes me through the harbour and you dont want to know how many times ive had my tires hooked lined and sinkered…)

  2. That’s a crazy big shark to be reeled in!  I was a little kid when Jaws came out and we had just moved to Hawaii & I had started surfing.  After seeing that movie in the theater, it took awhile for me to get back on my board and not be terrified.  I became obsessed with sharks though and had a book about the making of Jaws called the Jaws Log.  It’s a great book if you ever get a chance to check it out.  If not, check out these pictures from the shoot, pretty amazing stuff…

  3. Seems that Dean’s shark is still the “officially” largest fish to ever get caught via rod, reel and hook, but there is an unofficial catch in 1986 by Frank Mundus (who I guess was the inspiration for Captain Quint in Jaws).  He caught a 3,427 pound Great White.  It’s unofficial because two guys switched off and the shark was feeding off a dead whale which is against the rules for some reason.

    • Do you think it’s because the argument is that the shark will have extra weight because it will have been caught mid-mealtime? Vs a hangry shark caught on bait and not with a few days’ worth of whale/other sharkey nomnoms in its body?

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