The current IGFA (International Game Fish Association ) World Record Mako was caught on July 21 back in 2001 during the "Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament" off of Chatham, Mass. which requires all its participants to follow strict IGFA rules. This impressive IGFA World Record Mako was caught by Gray Taxidermy's own Captain Chris Peters, angler Luke Sweeney, and crewmen Doug Abdelnour and Dave Gaffey after a wild 3 hour long battle. When this shark was finally brought into port and weighed it was a monstrous 1,221 lbs. and broke the record for the heaviest shortfin Mako.
Now ten years after the record catch, Gray Taxidermy was chosen to replicate the IGFA World Record Mako for Nancy's Restaurant & Snack Bar, located on Martha's Vineyard in Oak Bluffs since 1960. This was a challenging yet welcomed task for Gray Taxidermy. Welcomed because it is always a great honor to be chosen to reproduce a unique trophy or in this case an official world record Mako shark. The challenge came from the enormous size of this shark.
All the original molds at Gray Taxidermy are made from real fish. After years of mold making, the company relies on its unmatched inventory of custom molds to reproduce a fishmount of any fish species imaginable. Gray strives to find the perfect match for each order regardless of size or type of fish. Nevertheless even with numerous Mako molds in stock, a world record will always require a new master mold to be made. Given that one was not made from the world record Mako caught in 2001, the company did not have the perfect match in inventory.
This did not stop the process though as the specialists and artists at Gray found a solution. After researching and analyzing various photographs of the record shark they started searching through their inventory to find a mold with matching characteristics. The pose and distinctiveness in a particular mold was found to be a good match, now the size was the main alteration needed. Once again did the crew and artists at Gray put their "engineering hats" on to figure out the best way to bulk up the shark mold they had.
Gray Taxidermy takes pride in their work and will never compromise quality or craftsmanship, and was looking to once again handcraft a perfect reproduction. Every little detail from what could be found from the photo archives was to be considered.
It was decided that it was necessary to first vertically split the mold in half from tip to tip. By doing so the team could add width and mass to the belly to match the more round and full belly of the record Mako. The original mold was also cut twice like a loaf of bread to make three pieces. One cut was right in front of the dorsal fin and one further back towards the tail. This allowed the crew to add needed length and also provided an easier way to alter the curve and pose. In addition the tail fin was enlarged as well as the dorsal and pectoral fins. Another major modification was the position of the head and the lower jaw. Artificial teeth were used in order provide maximum durability. At times the actual teeth or a real jaw is used, but considering that this mount will be hung in a demanding restaurant environment, Gray wanted to ensure that every part of this unique trophy fish will last for years to come.
After the shark mold was fiber glassed back together and the finishing touches were put in place it was ready for the paining process. An initial base coat of white was applied followed by sanding to ensure that the surface was smooth. After numerous inspections the airbrush paint artist started off by applying the lateral line followed by the vibrant blue colors in various shades. Other details from the real shark are also applied in this process. The painting procedure is fairly fast and after additional inspections the shark was ready for the last step, the crating.
A mount of this size requires a crate out of the ordinary. Skilled workers built something that to a untrained eye look more like a frame of a house. Two-by-four's and numerous screws will make a sturdy crate that will protect the shark on its journey to its final destination, the "Nancy's Restaurant & Snack Bar" on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts where it will be on display for hungry and curious diners.