Surprised fishermen have described the moment they caught a monster 23 stone shark which “jumped out of the water”.
The 8ft porbeagle shark was captured on Tuesday – and is believed to be one of the biggest of its kind ever captured off the Welsh coast.
Angler Matthew Burrett was fishing off the coast of Milford Haven when the 324lb beast was pulled from the water, reports Wales Online.
The porbeagle is a species of mackerel shark, distributed widely in the cold and temperate marine waters of the North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere.
They are often spotted around the UK in warm summer months.
Powerful and squat-bodied, porbeagle’s are a member of the Lamnidae shark family – which is the same family as the Great White.
Mr Burrett reeled in the monster during a sharking trip with Cardiff-based Phat Cat Charters.
Skipper Craig Deans – who has more than 15 years of experience on the water – said: “I’ve been told it could be the biggest caught in Welsh waters but that hasn’t been officially confirmed yet.
“I’ve never seen anything that big before, although I’m sure there are bigger fish out there. When I saw the size of it, I was pretty shocked. We didn’t really see how big it was until it was brought up alongside the boat.”
Craig went on: “At one point it even jumped out of the water – like when you see Great Whites jumping out and attacking a seal.
“We tried for a while to get it onto the boat, but we weren’t able to – even though we’ve got all the right equipment and a purpose-built boat.
“Luckily, there was a big swell and that washed the fish onto the boat.”
Phat Cat Charters operate a strict catch and release policy when shark fishing and use barb-free hooks and a special hook extraction tool to try to ensure the pain-free release of the shark.
Fishing journalist Dave Barham, who posted a picture of the shark to Facebook, said: “For anyone concerned, these sharks are extremely well looked after.
“The boats that fish for them are purpose-built to make it easy to bring them on board, measure, tag and release them.
“It all happens very quickly and every shark is released alive.”
Skipper Craig and his crew are no strangers to catching large fish.
They also made headlines in 2015 after someone on board reeled in a 19-stone thresher shark, believed to be only the second of its kind ever caught off Wales.
The first was caught three days earlier, 18 pounds lighter, by fisherman Andy Turrell on the Lady Jue 3 with the help of skipper Rob Rennie, also off the coast of Milford Haven.
Thresher sharks are found in all temperate and tropical oceans of the world and are usually solitary creatures who keep themselves to themselves and can be seen jumping out of the water like a dolphin.
It is not the first time something unusual has been caught in Welsh waters – in 2015 a man spotted thousands of dead starfish while the same year a dead Mike whale washed up on a Gower beach.