WEATHER »
Brian Colgate, pictured alongside the 907-lb. behemoth.

Sasha Felix

Brian Colgate, pictured alongside the 907-lb. behemoth.


Scary Shark, Tasty Lunch

Mako Monster of 2007


With this year’s installment of Fiesta securely in our rearview mirror, what better time to look back at arguably the most famous fish tacos ever sold during our city’s annual Old Spanish Days celebration? During Fiesta 2007, Santa Barbara Fish Market’s booth at De la Guerra Plaza fast became the culinary buzz of the party, serving up delicious shark tacos. And not just any shark, but a record-setting 907-pound Mako shark, caught just off shore of world-famous surfing spot Rincon Point a day before the start of Fiesta. (Anyone who doubts the presence of sharks in the lineup at Rincon should rent Bruce Brown’s 1961 film, Surfing Hollow Days, and behold a 15-foot behemoth patrolling the waves.)

Netted by Mike Ettinger and his crew aboard the commercial fishing vessel the Mary Beth, the short-finned Mako, accidentally caught while hunting for more traditional taco fare (white sea bass), caused quite a stir when it landed at the Santa Barbara Harbor-the shark’s toothy and terrifying grin a spectacle many won’t soon forget.

Despite its delicious legacy, the booth did stir up some controversy. “Some people think sharks shouldn’t be fished,” said S.B. Fish Market owner and manager Brian Colgate. Others, specifically surfers, worried about potential bad karma-and perhaps some biting fallout-from eating the shark. Nevertheless, even with several other local fish options on the menu, the largest demand was for the beast and when the smoke cleared, the Mako was responsible for more than 2,000 tacos sold.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

Latinos Are Being Pushed Out of Santa Barbara in Droves

New census data shows their population has shrunk by 24 percent since 2011.

Police Suspend Public Sleeping Laws

The non-enforcement comes in response to a new court ruling.

Priest’s Firing Raises Questions

What's the real reason Father Gavancho was terminated from Our Lady of Sorrows?

1/9 Repeat? ‘Nobody Knows!’

A UCSB geologist says predictions are purely guesswork.

Posting Bail for Santa Barbara County’s Undocumented ICE Detainees

How Anahi Mendoza and a Santa Barbara County organization help win bail for residents in ICE detention ...