(All considerations, pictures and story by TBD sharkfishing. See their FaceBook link for more information on link provided)
I have finally achieved what I considered to be the epitome of land based catch and release shark fishing, an easily 1000lb plus tiger shark. This shark was almost a decade in the making, and absolutely tested everything I have learnt in that period of time to the point of breaking, myself included.
12’6 inch / 3.84m TO THE FORK!!! Female tiger shark. Most large tiger sharks (12ft total length) have a gap between the fork to the tip of the tail ranging between 1’6″ to 2ft so that PUTS THIS SHARK 14ft to 14ft 6inch overall length!!!
(For those who are dubious please consider the current catch and release WR tiger shark held by Joey Polk: 10’8″ fork length, 12’9″ overall length — difference 2’1″ from fork length to overall length, add the fact a bigger fish will obviously have a bigger tail)
This is ONE of the largest tiger sharks ever caught off a beach, anywhere, ever. What’s even better, is that it swam off with no hesitation.
After getting absolutely hammered up at rainbow beach with the weather all for nothing spectacular fishing wise I made the call to head back down to a beach in NSW that I have had some success with in the past. The first night baits sat there with no touches, apart from my sand bag letting go on the 80w around 3 am so I chose to reel it in and leave it be untill the morning. Morning came and just as I was about to reel in the
senator 12/0 around 715am it slowly started to tick over.
I let it have it for a decent amount of time, not expecting much as this was my small bait for the night. But once I tightened up the drag and the 24/0 circle hook dug home I knew I was engaged into something I potentially couldn’t handle as I was fishing just myself and my gf, on an almost 40year old penn senator 12/0 antique!!!
Not wasting any time I instantly locked the drag down to full, and shoved my hands in the reel for extra pressure which in turn the shark picked up pace, heading straight out. There was nothing I could do, I was going to get spooled. My reel got so hot I couldn’t touch it, we poured water over the reel and that left me with a big cloud of steam blow up in my face….
My only saving grace was after a 900m continuous run, (I only had 50ish meters left on my reel!!) it suddenly turned hard left! That enabled me to sprint down the beach and start to use angles to my advantage, and that’s the only reason I was able to stop this fish, which is a scary thought. Had it have continued on it’s way another 50m this report would be a completely different story!
The first hour this shark absolutely made a mockery out of me. I was hurting bad, really bad. I’ve never been in so much pain. Sun burning in my face, shocking burns and blisters all over my hands, sweat and sunscreen dripping into my eyes, and my whole body aching from holding the intense pressure for such an extended time. Thoughts crossed my head like I can’t do this, It’s too big, I’m not prepared enough, I’m on my own…..
The second hour I slowly made progress, got it to about 150m out when we got our first glimpse of it, when it jumped out of the water!!! What a sight, I have never seen that before!
I called big hammer while gasping for air. As I thought the fight was coming to a close it then proceeded to do another 600m run straight out, on lockdown drag with my hands tightly gripping the spool ignoring the painful burns and blood blisters. I was 100% drained by this stage. That run crushed me mentally, I felt like giving up. I didn’t know how much longer I could possibly stand up to this shark.
Just as the third hour ticked over I managed to get it into shore. Being an absolute monster I left it in the water as much as possible, quickly removed the 24/0 circle hook which was perfectly hooked In the corner of the jaw, got a fork measurement (everytime I went for an overall it would kick me off- remember I was fishing solo and this shark was a lot bigger than me and in water) got a few quick photos and sent her off on her way! I swam out after her to make sure she swam off ok, but she quickly out swam me which was a great sign that she had recovered quickly.
I collapsed on the beach and tried taking it all in. I had just achieved everything I had ever set out to. It was surreal. The time was 10.30am, meaning I was on the rod and reel for over 3 hours.
After the fight, apart from being extremely sore, I observed I had guzzled down over 6L of water during the 3 hour event, My beautiful antique 12/0 metal plates have actually warped out of shape!! the spool now moves side to side about 3cm, the drag plates are completely burnt out and the clicker is broken, and my rod actually came seperated when the epoxy cracked where the grip joins onto the reel seat, and the blank has a stress crack running right up it now under the abuse I put it through, But I cannot thank it enough for holding up to a fish of a lifetime. It will now be gracefully retired as a wall hang next to a blown up canvas print of the shark.
I cannot thank everyone enough who’s played a part in making this possible. Right from when I was a rookie sharker asking everyone stupid questions. I would also like to thank our followers. You all motivate us to fish harder, to kayak baits through surf at 2am when it’s a lot easier to just jump in a warm sleeping bag.
I wouldn’t change the experience for anything in the world, it was true old school sharkin.
Monster tiger, on a penn senator.
What more could you want!?!?!