Scientific Name: Isurus oxyrinchus and Isurus paucus
Ideal Temp: 63-72°F (17-22°C)
Technique: Casting, Jigging
Lure Type: Trolling
World Record: 553.84 kg (1221 lb 0 oz) Chatham, Massachusetts , USA
The shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus—meaning "sharp nose") is a large mackerel shark. It is commonly referred to as the mako shark together with the longfin mako shark (Isurus paucus).Found worldwide in tropical and warm temperate seas, these solitary, pelagic, fast swimming species rarely come in close to shore. The shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus, is most often encountered by anglers as it is more likely to move in shore on occasion. The longfin mako, Isurus paucus, is a widely distributed off shore species considered rare in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, except along the coast of Cuba. It is taken almost exclusively on longlines.
It is a pelagic species that can be found from the surface down to depths of 150 m (490 ft), normally far from land though occasionally closer to shore, around islands or inlets. One of only four known endothermic sharks, it is seldom found in waters colder than 16 °C (61 °F).
In the western Atlantic it can be found from Argentina and the Gulf of Mexico to Browns Bank off of Nova Scotia. In Canadian waters these sharks are neither abundant nor rare. Swordfish are a good indication of shortfin makos as the former is a source of food and prefers similar environmental conditions.
Shortfin makos travel long distances to seek prey or mates. In December 1998, a female tagged off California was captured in the central Pacific by a Japanese research vessel, meaning this fish traveled over 1,725 miles (2,776 km). Another swam 1,322 miles (2,128 km) in 37 days, averaging 36 miles (58 km) a day.
The shortfin mako feeds mainly upon cephalopods, bony fishes including mackerels, tunas, bonitos, and swordfish, but it may also eat other sharks, porpoises, sea turtles, and seabirds. They hunt by lunging vertically up and tearing off chunks of their preys' flanks and fins. Makos swim below their prey, so they can see what is above and have a high probability of reaching prey before it notices. Biting the caudal peduncle can immobilize the prey. In Ganzirri and Isola Lipari, Sicily, shortfin makos have been found with amputated swordfish bills impaled into their head and gills, suggesting that swordfish seriously injure and likely kill makos. In addition, this location, and the late spring and early summer timing, corresponding to the swordfish's spawning cycle, suggests that these makos hunt while the swordfish are most vulnerable, typical of many predators.
Shortfin consume 3% of its weight each day and takes about 1.5–2 days to digest an average-sized meal. By comparison, an inactive species such as the sandbar shark consumes 0.6% of its weight a day and takes 3 to 4 days to digest it. An analysis of the stomach contents of 399 male and female mako sharks ranging from 67–328 centimetres (26–129 in) suggest makos from Cape Hatteras to the Grand Banks prefer bluefish, constituting 77.5% of the diet by volume. The average capacity of the stomach was 10% of the total weight. Shortfin makos consumed 4.3% to 14.5% of the available bluefish between Cape Hatteras and Georges Bank.
Shortfin over 3 metres (9.8 ft) have interior teeth considerably wider and flatter than smaller makos, which enables them to prey effectively upon dolphins, swordfish, and other sharks. Makos also have the tendency to scavenge long-lined and netted fish.
Fishing methods include trolling with whole tuna, mullet, squid, mackerel, or lures and also, chumming or live bait fishing with similar baits. Many are hooked incidentally while trolling for marlins. The flesh is excellent and said to be similar to swordfish.