It was October, 1967, and the teen-age Brent and younger brother Scott went with their parents about 15 miles offshore to try to catch marlin or sailfish. Instead, they caught something that was so big and strong that it knocked their boat around as McQuarrie wrestled with it. His wife, Oneida, and Brent also took turns reeling in the fish and letting the line out, a process that went on for an hour as they tired the fish out.
In the end, the McQuarries had to tie the fish alongside the boat. It was too heavy to bring aboard. Brent said no one at first was quite sure what it was. But it turned out to be an 11-foot-long thresher shark that weighed 228 pounds, the third largest fish ever caught off Newport Beach at the time.
"I broke several knives trying to kill it," Brent said. By coincidence, they tied the fish so it dragged backward in the water for a slow two-hour trip home. "We didn't know it, but we were told that dragging it in the water backward caused water to go in the gills. It eventually drowned."
The shark was smoked and fed the family for a long time, said Brent, who is now 40.