The largest documented whale shark ever was caught on November 11, 1947. Fishermen near Baba Island, Pakistan spent three hours dragging it back to shore where it was measured at 41 ½ ft. long and 23 ft. wide. The weight was taken on a commercial fish scale and came out to just over 47,000 lb.
Even though the Baba Island whale shark is the largest documented fish, there are several accounts of gigantic whale sharks being observed or even caught but none of these have sufficient documentation for the claims to be authenticated. Still, there is no reason to believe that creatures of the reports sizes don’t exist. The ocean is largely unexplored and with diving depths recorded as deep as 2300 ft. the largest of the whale sharks may simply be swimming in places we haven’t yet looked.
Edward Perceval Wright, while studying the species in 1868 near the Republic of Seychelles, claimed to have witnessed individual sharks approximately 50 ft long and relayed accounts by locals of some that were almost 70 ft in length.
Hugh M. Smith published a firsthand account of a huge fish caught in a bamboo trap in Thailand in 1919. This 1925 account stated that “the shark was too heavy to pull ashore, but Smith estimated that the shark was at least 56 ft long and weighed approximately 82,000 lb.
The 1934 account of a whale shark encounter with a ship named the Maurguani in the Southern Pacific Ocean tells of the ramming of the fish and its subsequent trouble as the fish became caught in the prow. The account claimed that 15 ft were visible on one side of the ship with 40 ft. more on the other.