A family fishing trip turned into one of “the coolest days on the water” for Katie Sheehan when instead of nabbing a marlin, her father accidentally caught a mako shark.
Sheehan was out on the water with her father Chris and brother-in-law Calvin on Thursday looking to catch some tuna or marlin. The group were out past the Manukau Bar, in a 100m depth when Chris’ line started to drag rapidly out from the boat.
Thinking this was it, the group readied themselves for a marlin – but to their surprise, out of the water leapt a mako shark – over and over again. The shark was pirouetting on the line trying to free itself – something that Sheehan told the Herald is typical for them.
“Hooking a mako is not uncommon, and to be honest they’re f***ing nightmares because they flip and spin and do all sorts of crazy things … but you need to remember, we’re the ones disrupting them! We’re in their area, we’re in their home,” she said.
“If you thought you had your dinner ready and then it had a big hook in it, you’d probably get angry too.”
Mako sharks live near the surface of the ocean and in coastal waters, and are found around the coast of New Zealand, more commonly in the North Island.
They are known for jumping clear of the water when hooked, sometimes as much as 10m – and have been reported to land in boats.
Sheehan said the group was worried the shark would land in their boat.
“There was a story of a guy in Whangamatā, I think it was last season a mako actually jumped on his boat. It was the exact same thing, he was live baiting like us and the shark jumped in and completely destroyed his boat so that story flashed through my mind and we’re all like ‘holy sh*t!’.”
Luckily for them, and for the shark, everything ended without incident.
“He was doing what he was supposed to be doing and it all worked out perfectly. We got our line back, and he came away with a fish in his throat.”
She told the Herald in her years of fishing, this was up there with the best experiences she had ever had.
“I’m 30 years old now, I’ve been fishing since I was 10 and this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on the water.”
Although they didn’t catch any tuna or marlin, Sheehan said there were plenty of other things to keep them busy.
“We saw seals and sunfish and that guy of course – there were killer whales further out from us too, so it was an awesome day out on the water.”