Discover the Biggest Shark Ever Caught Off Texas (Over 1,000 Pounds!)

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: August 31, 2023
© Tomas Kotouc/
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Along the coast of Texas, there are multiple hot spots for amazing fishing. Some love to trying to catch a trophy sailfish or swordfish, and they do look impressive! While others are all about delicious seafood like flounder and catfish. But the thrill seekers are out to catch the biggest sharks. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department keeps state records for 25 different species of sharks.

Fish stories are all about “the big one that got away” but what about the one that is a record-breaker? Let’s discover the biggest shark ever caught off Texas!

Infographic of the Largest Shark Caught Off the Texas Coast
The biggest shark caught off Texas was a tiger shark in the Gulf of Mexico.

3. Shortfin Mako

Shortfin mako shark swimming just under the surface, offshore, about 50 kilometers past Western Cape in South Africa. This picture was taken during a blue water baited shark dive.
A 10.5 foot shortfin mako was caught off the coast of Texas in 2002.


The third largest shark caught off Texas was caught by Jeff Shindle on January 27, 2002. This record is remarkable because he caught a shortfin mako, which is the fastest shark in the world! Shortfin makos can swim 40 mph in short bursts. You would recognize a mako by its very large eyes. Very menacing!

This is a “rod and reel” record so he snagged this beast and reeled it in just off the coast of Texas. The record shortfin mako weighed 707.50 pounds and was 128 inches, or 10.5 feet, long. The average shortfin mako is closer to 130-300 pounds. Some makos have been recorded at a maximum length of 13 feet, so this one was definitely a big one.

Unfortunately, both the longfin mako and shortfin mako are listed as “Endangered” by the IUCN. One of the reasons is they are overfished in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. Regulations are being put in place to restrict the fishing of sharks in those areas to help bring their numbers back up.

2. Great Hammerhead

The eyes of Great Hammerhead Sharks sit on the edge of their mallet-shaped heads, they have excellent eyesight and a 360 view of their surroundings, making them skilled hunters.
The largest great hammerhead shark caught off Texas was 1,033 pounds.

©Martin Prochazkacz/

The second biggest shark caught off Texas was a great hammerhead shark. Their heads literally look like hammers and more remarkably, their eyes are located on the sides of the hammer ends. They have excellent eyesight as well as ampullae of Lorenzini, which they use to identify electrical fields produced by their prey. One of their favorite prey is stingrays and they will use their large heads to pin the stingray to the floor of the ocean before chomping on them for dinner. The Atlantic stingray, cownose ray, and lesser electric ray all live off the coast of Texas, so there is plenty of food for the hammerheads.

Can you believe the second largest shark caught off Texas was more than 1,000 pounds? The record-breaking shark weighed 1,033 pounds! It was 173.25 inches, or 14.4 feet, long and caught by Timothy W. McClellen on July 9, 2017. This is another saltwater rod and reel record so there was surely a long fight to bring in the big shark.

But what about the biggest shark ever caught off Texas?

1. Tiger Shark

Largest Tiger Shark - tiger shark's distinctive feature
The biggest shark ever caught off Texas was a 13.5 foot tiger shark.


The average tiger shark is between 850 and 1,400 pounds and 10-14 feet long. Tiger sharks are the fourth largest shark but bear in mind that they are also the second most dangerous shark in terms of number of attacks on humans. The great white shark is the most dangerous and has the most fatalities due to shark attacks.

The largest shark caught off Texas was a tiger shark measuring 1,129 pounds and 162 inches, or 13.5 feet, long. If you have a queen sized bed, it is 6.5 feet long — this shark would need two queen size beds to sleep comfortably! The largest tiger shark was caught by Chap Cain III in the Gulf of Mexico on May 24, 1992, making it a record of more than 20 years!

When bringing in a shark of that size there is often quite a battle to get the shark close enough to your boat and it takes several people or a winch to load the catch into your boat. A recent angler, Avery Fuller, caught a 12.5 foot tiger shark off the coast of Texas, but had to shoot it before safely bringing it into the boat. His shark weighed in at 1004.3 pounds. He was fishing with his brothers 40 miles south of Galveston. Maybe if you want to break the 20-year record that is a good place to start!

Where Should You Fish for Sharks off the Coast of Texas?

Are you looking to break a 20-year record? Do you have what it takes to be a shark angler? It is not for the faint of heart. If you are up for it, fishing off South Padre Island, TX is your best bet. In the summer there is a large variety of good-sized sharks that visit the shoreline. Jackfish and stingray are some of the preferred bait for anglers that are looking to catch the next record-breaking shark.

Fishing at dawn or dusk are when the sharks are most active but many anglers prefer the evening dusk time due to cooler temperatures and higher tide — not necessarily a recipe for catching the next biggest shark, but certainly helpful info!

List of Biggest Sharks Ever Caught in Texas:

Here are some notable shark records for the state of Texas.

Species of SharkWeight (lbs)Length (inches)DateAngler
Shark, Tiger1,129.00162.00May 24, 1992Chap Cain III
Hammerhead, Great1,033.00173.25Jul 9, 2017Timothy W. McClellen
Mako, Shortfin707.50128.00Jan 27, 2002Jeff Shindle
Mako, Longfin664.00128.50May 4, 1986Donald Ewing
Shark, Silky556.00140.00Jul 23, 1973Wolfgang Bushang
Shark, Dusky530.00129.00Mar 1, 1975Raymond Hein
Tiger, Sand520.00119.00Apr 4, 1976Joey Vermuelem
Shark, Bull515.00108.00May 18, 2007Randall Rickerson
Shark, Lemon470.00122.00Aug 28, 1987Jim Blackburn
Shark, Thresher333.00158.50May 2, 2002Robert Robinson
Hammerhead, Scalloped300.50Oct 4, 2021Derrick Bonner
Shark, Sandbar226.0092.00Mar 21, 1975James Wilson
Shark, Spinner212.6089.75Apr 29, 2000Howell Kines
Shark, Oceanic Whitetip200.0095.75Jul 25, 2014Blake Oestreich
Shark, Blacktip190.0097.00May 31, 2003Davey Wright
Hammerhead, Smalleye151.0095.00Oct 26, 1986Louis Kusey III
Shark, Nurse148.5087.00Oct 9, 1998Sam Hallmark
Shark, Finetooth100.5080.25Jun 3, 1979Richard Hensley
Shark, Blacknose45.0057.00Apr 29, 1993Charles Gillispie
Dogfish, Smooth26.5050.88Mar 2, 1998George Flores
Bonnethead24.3050.12Aug 18, 2004Pamela Joseph
Dogfish, Spiny21.0050.75Oct 26, 1986Vicki Kusey
Shark, Atlantic Sharpnose17.1443.50Apr 5, 2000Debra Windsor
Shark, Bigeye Sixgill8.3640.00Apr 17, 1996Christopher Gonzales Jr.
Dogfish, Cuban4.6330.50Aug 20, 2011Trevin Eckersley

The Featured Image

Tiger Shark
© Tomas Kotouc/

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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