A monster porbeagle has been caught from British waters by an angler using fly-fishing tackle.
The shark, estimated to weigh 380lb and thought to be the largest ever taken on a fly, was claimed by Wiltshire angler Tim Westcott who battled with the fish for over an hour while aboard Jerry Rogers’ Fast Cats charter boat out of Cornwall.
Tim claimed the porgie while purposefully targeting the species. It’s the latest in a two-year campaign that has seen him land numerous other specimens, including a blue shark of 151lb... also on the fly.
The 54-year-old used a Bloke Shark Master 7ft rod with 400lb trace and 250lb leader with 70lb fly line, ending in a hand-sized baitfish imitation fly coated with Fish-Dynamix’s Mackerel Wand flavouring.
He said: “The take came just 10 minutes into the session. Jerry knew it was a big fish but I thought he was mucking around as for a few minutes I still had plenty of line on the reel. Then all hell broke loose and it took me most of the remaining time to recover all that line.
“After pulling it to the side of the boat my eyes came out of my head when I saw the sheer size of it, but our main objective was to release it as quickly and as safely as we could.”
Tim began his fishing career targeting tiny perch and roach on a local pond before moving to fly fishing for pike and carp on estate lakes and the Bristol Avon.
He was further inspired by Angling Times columnist Dom Garnett’s ‘Fly for Coarse’ campaign and made the life-changing decision to target more substantial quarry: “To say that I’ve had to beef up my gear to be able to deal with these incredibly powerful predators is an understatement,” he continued. “Playing those huge fish on light fly tackle is an amazing experience, and is totally addictive.
“To see these sharks take the bait and then feel their sheer power as they take off is like nothing else – it’s a bit different to catching trout and salmon, I can tell you.”