The Monster Shark that Arrived Too Late!

Captain Damon Sacco and the "Jaws" in Tommy Pear's Driveway

Here’s a little Peases Point folklore for anyone who may not have heard the story when it happened (or some future reader who’s reading about this as a historical event).

In 2005 Charlie Howard and Tommy Pear were part of the fishing crew that entered the Martha’s Vineyard Monster Shark Tournament, but that’s just the beginning of this fish tale.

Charlie and Tommy’s team actually caught a truly monster shark, but it was so big that they couldn’t drag it back to MV before the deadline!

Here’s a story I found in a paper called the “Tri Town News” that does a pretty god job reporting the incident:

Tight deadline puts bite on shark slayer

Howell resident hooks 1,400-pound tiger shark but comes up short


Ivo Allen (l) and Damon Sacco share the achievement of reeling in a 1,400-pound tiger shark during the 19th annual Monster Shark Tournament. Unfortunately for Allen, who hooked the shark, its size slowed his return from 70 miles out at sea and he missed out on a $262,000 prize.

When Ivo Allen of Howell tells the story about the one that got away, his will be no ordinary fish tale. It wasn’t that long ago when Allen nearly claimed a prize that any sportsman worth his saltwater would have wanted — a $262,000 payoff along with bragging rights for a tiger shark that turned out to be one for the books.

As it turned out, though, the $262,000 was not to be his, but only because the tiger shark he caught was so big that it slowed Allen’s boat and made it impossible for Allen to get back to the harbor by the 6:30 p.m. deadline. He missed the deadline by just six minutes. So close, yet so far.

Adding insult to injury was the fact that the tiger shark he reeled in was 1,400 pounds when Allen hooked it at 1 p.m. and landed it at 3:10 p.m.

However, said Allen, the time it took to get back to shore from his boat’s position 70 miles out at sea led to the shark “bleeding out” and consequently, the 15-foot-long shark weighed in at “only” 1,191 pounds. It would have been enough if he could have beaten the clock.

Allen, 41, caught the record shark while competing in the 19th annual Monster Shark Tournament held July 15-16 off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. The winners of the tournament were determined according to points that were awarded for the weight of each shark brought in.

Allen said a mako shark had to weigh at least 300 pounds and a blue shark had to weigh at least 200 pounds to qualify. An underweight fish resulted in an entrant being penalized 100 points.

Allen was there with friends that included Joe Molinari, also of Howell. They were competing in the tournament in a boat named the Castafari, owned and captained by Allen’s friend Damon Sacco, of Sandwich, Mass.

Allen, 41, is the president of Hunter Solutions, a computer consulting company in Eatontown. He and his wife of 12 years, Victoria, have two children, a son, Hunter, 7, and a daughter, Meadow, 4.

Allen said he has been fishing all his life and has competed in many competitive fishing tournaments. Allen said his father was an illustrator for Sports Illustrated who traveled to exotic places and took his son along. Allen said that as a boy he fished in places like Costa Rica, Panama and Venezuela.

Allen said the decision to fish 70 miles out from Martha’s Vineyard was made after the first day’s catches from the other boats were disappointing. He said of the 240 boats competing, only 12 had fish and half of those were penalized for bringing back underweight fish.

He said he and his crew realized that at 40 miles out, they were likely to only catch what the others were catching. So, he said, the decision was made to go out to 70 miles where the waters are warmer and to use bigger bait (squid).

“The tactic paid off too well. We ended up catching a fish that was too big to get back with in time,” Allen said with a rueful laugh.

He said he was initially disappointed about not winning the prize. He said 25 percent of the winnings would have gone to the boat’s owner and crew and the rest of the money would have been split between him, Molinari and another friend, Tom Pear.

However, he said, since the competition took place he has talked with many people who told him that in their minds, he and his crew won.

“We certainly did win the bragging rights,” Allen said, noting that the size of his tiger shark beat the biggest fish caught by 800 pounds.

Allen said the tiger shark he landed turned out to be the largest tiger shark caught in the tournament and also the largest tiger shark caught in the state’s history.

He said the largest shark that has been caught since the tournament started 19 years ago was a 1,200-pound mako shark that one competitor landed a couple of years ago.

Allen said while the boat was trying to get back to the harbor in time to meet the deadline, it was announced to the crowd that a potential winning shark was on the way and a crowd started gathering to witness his triumph.

He said the crowd, which numbered in the thousands, got a little ugly when the winner was announced and it was not him.

“They were really pulling for us to win and were really disappointed when we didn’t,” Allen said.

Allen said the tournament prize went to a boat that weighed in two 378-pound porbeagle sharks, a shark that closely resembles a mako, according to Allen.

Being a lifelong sportsman, Allen has developed a sense of sportsmanship that allowed him to shrug off the loss with good humor and a positive attitude.

“Everyone said we were the ones that left with the bragging rights and that we’re the team to beat next year,” he said.

The shark Allen caught ended up getting dissected at the dock by some biologists who were on hand. A giant sea turtle was one of the things found when the shark was opened. The shark was estimated to be about 40 years old.

Allen took the shark’s jaws and will have them mounted. The rest of the shark went for research by those same biologists.

Source: Tri-Town News

An International News Event

At the time this was more than just a local story. For a few days that week, it was actually a major international news event. Here’s a link to a television feature story on the CBS News Early Show with Julie Chen that includes a video.

Where’s Charlie?

Charlie and Natalie (Horne), the day after the tournament.

Note, the story does mention Tommy Pear by name, but I couldn’t find any mention of Charlie anywhere? Perhaps Chas can comment on this story and fill in the blanks (or add some inside color).


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