Biggest Fish Ever Caught with a Rod & Reel

Biggest Fish Ever Caught with a Rod & Reel

The biggest fish to ever be caught with a rod and reel is a wild story. Since that day, this catch has set a world record that has not been broken for nearly forty years. This tale is so well-known and inspiring that it inspired a horror movie. For almost 90 minutes, Captain Frank Mundus and his assistant Johnny Braddock fought with the most dangerous predator in the world’s oceans, a great white shark. In 1986, all they had was a rod or reel. But they also had their strength and willpower that was made of pure steel.

A Dream Catch

So many fishers dream of the day they can reel in an award-winning catch. There are contests all over the world all about catching record-breaking fish. But a genuinely amazing catch only comes once in a lifetime for one person who dedicates their lives to fishing. It’s the kind of catch that set a record that has not been broken for nearly forty years. And it looks like a new one will not overcome the record for another 40 more years. Sometimes, stories are so unbelievable, it’s almost ridiculous to hear them, yet the following story is completely true and has inspired many fishers to get out on the ocean. The story of this catch is so well-known and popular that Hollywood even made an entire movie inspired by one man’s unbelievable catch. 

What is the Biggest Fish Ever Caught with a Rod and Reel?

It was a beautiful and sunny day during August when Frank Mundus and his assistant Donnybrook went into the Atlantic Ocean, more than 20 miles outside of Montauk port. He had heard that there were sharks in the waters and decided to go “Monster Fishing” as he called it. He had already gone Monster Fishing beforehand and killed a 4,500 lb great white shark. It was an astonishing and captivating battle by which he won by stabbing it with a harpoon. And now he was back out on the waters again.

Still hunting for sharks, he was fishing with a rod and reel when he got a bite and worked hard to reel in a great white shark. He and his assistant battled for almost 90 minutes as they worked together to reel in the shark. His line never snapped because he was using a 130 lb line. When he returned to shore, the shark was weighed, and it was an astonishing 3,427 lb!

No one in recorded history had ever caught a fish that large. It was in many local newspapers, and he became a local celebrity after catching it.

biggest shark ever caught

But there are some critics who do not agree with his record-breaking catch. For a person to obtain this record, they must find and bait a fish. They are not allowed to trap it and then reel it in. Some people say that he was able to catch this shark because he found it eating a whale carcass. If that is true, then his record would be revoked because that is not part of the rules.

Who was Captain Frank Mundus?

He was born in the city of Long Beach, New Jersey. Frank Mundus was born on October 21st, 1925. When he was 20, Frank started his own charter operation with his boat, which was called the Cricket. He worked as a fisher all of his life, but he was also quite strange. To put it mildly, he was known as an eccentric person. He enjoyed painting his toenails and wearing large earrings.

After the event

Around the time he lived in Montauk, the residents of the town knew that Frank was different. Those who read the book and viewed the movie could tell from the character’s mannerisms and speaking that Captain Quint was directly copied from Frank Mundus. Although the author was not allowed to say so. If he did, both he and the publisher would have gotten into legal trouble. 

Frank Mundus lived until 2008, and he died on September 10th. He spent his last few years in Hawaii as he had retired in 1997.

Who was Donnie Braddock?

Much less famous than the captain, Donnie Braddock assisted Captain Mundus in catching the world record-breaking great white shark. You can see him with Captain Mundus in a picture they took together with the record-setting shark.

What movie did the event inspire?

If you have not already guessed and don’t know who Frank Mundus is, and this is the first you’re hearing of him, you will be surprised by the name of the movie inspired by this story. We will give you one hint: Steven Spielberg directed it, and the music was composed by none other than John Williams himself.

Did You Guess Correctly?

The answer is Jaws!! Yes, the famous ocean horror movie about a killer shark is completely inspired by the story. This movie was so impactful in its time that it kept people away from the beach and forever imposed fear of sharks into the public. The main character of the movie, Captain Quint, was directly inspired by Frank Mundus himself. 

But this movie is not on Frank Mundus’ top 10 list. When he saw Jaws, he told people that it was the silliest and stupidest movie he’s ever seen. The person who directed and made the movie knew nothing about fishing and did not know how even to cook fish. 

If you have interest in catching sharks of this size, check out our list showcasing the Best Reels for Shark Fishing.


The biggest catch ever caught with a rod and reel was a 3,500 lb great white shark off of Montauk, Long Island. Although, some people debate on if the catch was real or not, this story made both of the fishermen famous and inspired the movie Jaws, which was created by Steven Spielberg. Captain Mundus was an extremely eccentric person who was a fisherman his whole life. He didn’t like the movie when it came out and said it was stupid. Frank Mundus became quite famous in Montauk, but he continued to work as a captain until 1997.

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