Shark, Mako

(Isurus oxyrinchus)

Commonly referred to as Makos!

The mako shark has gained the reputation of being one of the most feared sharks on the planet.  Its frightening appearance and awesome displays of speed and power are legendary amongst game fishing fraternities making the mako the most highly prized shark species available. Makos can reach speeds of up to 80 Km/ph and have been known to propel themselves from the water upon hook up often landing in boats full of panicked anglers! There are two separate species of mako shark roaming our oceans, the short fin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), which is more commonly encountered around Australia and the long fin mako (Isurus paucas) which is much rarer and more commonly found overseas. Mako sharks have been around for a very long time and once grew to 6 meters in length weighing as much as 2800kg – (hastilus). The Cretaceous grand mako was the ancient beast that used to share the oceans with the infamous kronosaurs, ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. Mako sharks first gained popularity amongst game fisherman thanks to Zane Grey’s early works describing these fearsome predators and also through Ernest Hemingway’s unforgettable tale the Old Man and the Sea, where the mako is depicted as the marlin – marauding monster!


Mako sharks can be located from as far south as the Albany right up to the Exmouth region throughout Western Australia and are generally encountered in warm, deeper waters of  100 meters or more. They are also found in N.S.W., VIC, S.A. and TAS.


Mako sharks are one of the larger species of shark encountered throughout Australia and generally grow to around 600kg in weight and reach a maximum length of around 4.5meters although a typical size mako is around 60kg in most  locations with larger fish averaging between 200 – 400kg rarely encountered.


Mako sharks prefer clean, warm, off shore waters with depths of around 100 meters or more with large numbers of bait fish present. They can also be encountered in cooler southern waters around large schools of tuna.


Mako sharks are easily recognised by their short, muscular appearance and small pointed head. The body is blue in colouration leading down to a white under belly. The mouth is full of pointed, dagger like teeth and the eye is black and quite large.

Taste rating

  • Zero Taste Rating

Mako sharks like most aggressive shark species are considered to be more of a sport/game fish and should be immediately released upon capture unless the angler wishes to take the fish for a record claim! Small makos around 10 – 20kg in weight have a reputation for being quite good eating.

Sport rating

  • Ninety Sport Rating

Mako sharks are an exhilarating species of shark to battle and are considered to be the ultimate shark species for many seasoned anglers!

Tackle requirements

Light to medium lever drag stand up outfits are required for targeting smallish mako sharks from a boat. They must have large line capacity and high quality drag systems capable of battling large fish in uncomfortable to rough sea conditions. Stand up outfits rated from 10 – 24kg are ideally suited for targeting makos to 200kg where as 24 – 37kg stand up or game chair outfits may be needed to subdue larger specimens to over 250kg. Wind on leaders of between 200 – 400lb need to be connected to plaited doubles via a cats paw knot and then attached to the bait trace with a quality stainless steel snap swivel or cork screw style snap for heavier 37kg line classes.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Mako sharks will eat a variety of  bait fish such as mullet, mackerel, and tuna.  They are also quite partial to a feed of squid! All rigs need to be made of wire to prevent bite offs during lengthy battles and hook points should be sharpened for extra penetration. Makos will occasionally take a trolled skirted lure intended for marlin but generally prefer small, fresh baits such as tuna fillet.

Handy hints and tips

Always use fresh baits and ensure hook points are extra sharp! A good, long berley trail produced from fresh ingredients will eventually attract sharks to your boat if you are patient and in the right area.

Preferred fishing times and tides

Mako sharks prefer to feed during daylight hours around a high or low tide change.


[What The Fish]