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.”
A massive porbeagle shark, estimated to weigh around 200lb, has been caught from a West Wales rock mark, writes Dave Barham.
It was a combined effort between two anglers, Mark Turner and Simon Shaw.
The shark was hooked within 20 minutes on the first cast, and the initial bite was so timid that the pair thought there might be a dogfish playing with the huge bait. But moments later the shark took off, stripping at least 100 yards of line on its initial run.
As Mark piled on the pressure, his Century T1000 rod was buckled over when the massive shark breached the surface. The lads from Pembrokeshire thought it was a monster tope at first, because that was what they were targeting, but it soon became apparent that this was something much larger.
Luckily, the shark just wallowed about during the initial stages of the fight, kiting left and right. If it had decided to head out to the Atlantic, then it would have easily spooled Mark’s Penn Fathom 15 reel, which was loaded with 0.43mm mono.
About half-an-hour into the epic battle, Mark, who was on his first fishing trip for six weeks after suffering an Achilles’ heel injury, had to concede defeat and let Simon take over.
Minutes after Simon took control of the rod, the shark set off on a blistering 150yd run, and it was back to square one for the dynamic duo.
A further half-an-hour passed until the big porbeagle was finally brought to the rocks, but there was no way of landing it for accurate measurements or trophy shots. The pair made a rough guess at the length being around two metres, with a good one-metre girth; Simon is a carpenter/builder by trade, so has a good sense of judging length.
Anglers who have seen video footage of the catch agree that this porgie was somewhere around 180-200lb. That really doesn’t matter, the fact that the pair hooked and leadered such a magnificent beast from the shore is enough.
Kayak angler Graham Smith battled for three hours with a porbeagle shark estimated at 300lb while paddling off the northern tip of Ireland.
The Fish Dynamix ambassador, from Moville, County Donegal, was fishing on June 18 when his fishing companion saw a shark was chasing a hooked pollack.
“Initially, I thought it was a basking shark,” said Graham. “But no, the ominous distinctive fin of a porbeagle came out from under his kayak.”
After two attempts at catching the shark with a bait rigged swimbait style, Graham hooked a coalfish on one rod and pollack on another and began trolling the baits.
“Within moments of trolling, up she came like a scene out of ‘Jaws!’, fin out of the water and creating an impressive wake as she charged after the bait. In seconds she had the bait and headed off with it, but she missed the hook, so I set up again,” said Graham.
Next time as the shark came after the bait he kept paddling. The shark cruised ahead of him so he grabbed the rod and waited “for all hell to break loose”, and it did. The porgie took line off the reel at an impressive rate, but after 40 minutes Graham got her to the side of the kayak.
“With that she smashed the water with her huge tail turned and violently rammed my kayak. She shifted my kayak at least 5ft through the water,” he said.
The shark dragged his kayak towards some rocks and then into the open sea. Luckily, she kept inside a half-mile circle until the last 30 minutes of the fight, and towed Graham a mile further down the coast.
After three hours, Graham felt he was winning the battle, just as a local wildlife ranger, Emmet Johnston and a basking shark tagging crew were passing by. Emmet is a shark expert and estimated the porbeagle to be easily 300lb.
Graham added: “They hung on and gave me a gentle tow to make sure the shark was well revived. I unhooked her and away she went. She was an impressive sight, and probably the biggest shark I will ever get alongside my kayak.”