A mammoth tiger shark weighing more than 450kg has been caught by hand off a beach in New South Wales.
Max Muggeridge, 19, who has been a shark fisherman for more than seven years, took three hours to hand reel in the beast.
“I knew I had hooked onto a very good fish but it wasn’t until it got closer I could see it was massive… almost the size of a whale,” he told Business Insider.
“Not wasting any time I instantly locked the drag down to full, and shoved my hands in the reel for extra pressure… 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.”
Muggeridge made the trip down the coast from Queensland, south of the border to Pottsville with his girlfriend. Little did he know that he would be later have to single-handedly reel in what would have been a world record-sized catch.
The current catch and release world record for a tiger shark is held by Joey Polk for a shark 3.25m in fork length and 3.88m overall.
Muggeridge’s shark was estimated at 4.4m, but the teenager – who describes himself as a shark conservationist first and a fisherman second – didn’t get the required measurements for the record, concerned that the shark needed to get back out to sea after the long reel in.
“I’d rather let it swim away than follow the protocol… it’s (the record) just a piece of paper,” he said.
“[On release] I swam out after her to make sure she swam off OK, but she quickly outswam me which was a great sign that she had recovered quickly.”
Muggeridge said the catch was his childhood dream.
“I was in absolute astonishment (reeling it in); it was everything I ever dreamed about as kid. I started finishing a child in the rivers and I guess I’ve always wanted bigger and better.
“I’ve been fascinated by these creatures but when I do catch them I always tag them and release. It’s all for research.
“I wouldn’t change the experience for anything in the world. It was true old school sharkin’.”
Following a deadly summer in Australian waters, with many shark sightings and multiple attacks, we asked Muggeridge whether he has noticed a difference in his catches.
“In summer, sharks always come closer to the shore and that’s also the season humans go to the beach,” he said.
“This summer we did get two really good sharks but I would say that would be because I’ve improved myself.”
Tiger sharks are consider as the most dangerous shark in the world, only behind the great white.
See the mammoth shark here.