Lunker of a Lemon

Retired doctor catches and releases world record lemon shark on fly.

September 21, 2007

Dr. Martin Arostegui, right, with his monster lemon shark. He, Capt. Mike Delph (left) and Capt. Ralph Delph (not pictured) made elaborate preparations to make sure they could catch the fish, document it, and release it alive.
(Photo provided by the IGFA via Johnson Communications, Scottsdale, Ariz.)

It’s official: Dr. Martin Arostegui’s catch-and-release of a 385 lb. lemon shark is an IGFA certified world record and the heaviest documented fish caught on fly tippet.

Arostegui and guide Capt. Ralph Delph of Key West, FL were fishing near the Marquesas Keys. Their original plan was to catch and release a tiger shark on 20 lb. tippet, but their scent line attracted the huge lemon shark first. Arostegui hooked the shark on a 12 lb. tippet and fought it for over an hour. As he pulled it to the boat, the shark tried to take a bite out of the hull.


“When it opened its huge mouth, I said to myself this shark could eat half of me in one bite,” joked the retired emergency room doctor.

Arostegui’s shark was entered in the 16 lb. line class because his 12 lb. tippet overtested at 13 lbs during the IGFA review. The previous record for heaviest fish on fly was a 356 lb. goliath grouper caught by Bart Froth in 1967. Arostegui also beat his own 257 lb. record for a lemon shark, as well as the record for heaviest shark on fly-previously a 353 lb. hammerhead shark caught by Rick Gunion.

Check the upcoming SWS July issue or the IGFA website at for more information.


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