From the NY Daily News:
Frank Mundus, the legendary Long Island shark hunter widely credited as the inspiration for the crotchety skipper in “Jaws,” has died in Hawaii. He was 82.
Known as Monster Man, Mundus caught an untold number of sharks in the waters off Montauk since he began fishing there on his boat, the Cricket, in the early 1950s.
“It’s definitely the end of an era,” Mundus’ boat mate for the past four years, Capt. Rick Freda, told the News. “Frank was definitely a legend and he’ll really be missed among all the fishermen.”
The colorful skipper caught a 3,427-pound great white in 1986, breaking the record for the heaviest fish ever caught with a rod and reel.
Mundus also claims to have harpooned a 4,500-pound great white in 1964.
It was that fish, Mundus claimed, that led his friend Peter Benchley to pen the novel “Jaws,” in which a salty shark hunter named Quint is hired to kill a colossal great white. The book was turned into an Oscar-winning movie in 1975.
Among the oddest things Mundus has said he found inside a shark’s stomach were a rabbit and one of his own business cards, which had been tossed in a can of chum.
Mundus, who always wore a shark tooth on a gold chain around his neck, retired to Hawaii in the 1990s but often returned to Montauk to fish.
He was there over the summer and caught 20 sharks in 20 days, Freda said. “He had a smile on his face as he caught the last sharks of his life,” he said.
Mundus died in a Honolulu hospital from complications of a heart attack he suffered at Kona International Airport on Sept. 6, the day he returned from New York, relatives said.
He is survived by his wife, Jenny, and his three daughters; Barbara, Patricia and Tammy.