From San Jose Mercury News, Aug. 30, 1999

10-foot mako charged with its mouth open

Diver Spears Shark As It Attacks


Coronado (AP) - A diver fishing for yellowtail off the coast of San Diego killed a 10-foot-long, 426-pound mako shark that charged him with its mouth open.

Stewart Graham, 39, an environmental geologist who was diving 30 feet under the surface south of Coronado Island on Saturday said he wasn't frightened when he first saw the mako shark in the distance.

In 27 years of diving, he has swum with sharks before and had never been attacked. Makos are generally not known to be dangerous to humans.

Graham calmly called to the pilot of the dive boat about 50 feet away. Then, he dived underwater again.

That's when he saw the mako shark, its mouth wide open, charging straight at him from about 15 feet away.

Graham grabbed the spear gun at his side and fired a thin, 6-foot metal spear at the fish's mouth, he said. The fish jerked its head to one side, and the spear sank into its gills.

It took more than four hours for a team of four to drag the shark 20 miles to dock, where a crane lifted it out of the water and onto a scale.

Graham said he was sorry he had to kill the shark.

"One of my favorite animals is the shark," he said. "As a geologist, I have so much respect for them because they have been around for so many years."

Still, he wasn't about to pass up the opportunity to eat a rare delicacy. While members of his dive group researched whether the shark had set a record for a fish caught with a spear, Graham and the pilot were looking for someone to fillet it while it was still fresh.