A family caught more than they bargained for out on the water when, instead of catching a marlin, they accidentally hooked a mako shark.
Katie Sheehan, her father, Chris and brother-in-law Calvin were out on their boat, Inheritance, off the Manukau Bar on Thursday at a depth of about 100m.
“We had been fishing for the day and had seen quite a bit of activity. There’s a few different styles of game fishing and we’d been trolling in the morning and then decided to drop some live baits over, and that’s what attracted Mr Shark.”
Chris’ line began to drag out rapidly from the boat, and the group prepared themselves for a marlin.
“He’s picked up his dinner, and he’s just swimming away,” said Sheehan.
Chris pushed the drag up, making the line tight and setting the hook in the fish.
“Often, marlin will jump, hence why I was videoing – obviously that jump, we very quickly realised that it wasn’t it a marlin, it was a mako shark.”
Initially, the shark was about 10-15m away, but it began to pirouette closer to the Inheritance until by the third jump it was 2-3m away from the motor.
“It’s not uncommon for a shark or something else to grab live bait. I’ve personally never seen a mako jump that much, and that close to the boat was pretty terrifying for us.”
Mako sharks live around coastal areas of New Zealand, especially the North Island.
They are known for jumping clear of the water when they’ve been hooked, sometimes as much as 10m and have been reported to land in boats.
When asked if she was worried that the shark might land on the boat, Sheehan replied “f*** yeah.”
She recalled a news story where two Whangamatā fishing buddies hooked a mako that jumped out of the water and landed on the roof of their boat.
“That story actually flashed through my mind. You’re sh***ing yourself that that’s gonna happen.”
The common instinct is to fear sharks, but Sheehan said fishermen want sharks to be there as they’re a “sign of an incredibly healthy ocean.”
“We’re just as unhappy as they are when we catch them, but by the same token, we have the utmost respect for them as fishermen.”
Sheehan said that the day was “one of the best days ever on the West Coast.”
“We’ve just come off five days straight of fishing, so it was pretty cool to add that to what we’ve seen and done.”