ANGLERS who caught a shark off Apollo Bay had to tow their catch to shore because it was so big they couldn’t get it into the boat.
Former Colac fisherman Jason Finch is the toast of the Otway Region Sport Fishing Club after landing the 2.9-metre, 294-kilogram mako shark.
Finch, 28, and friend Neil Sturzaker, 53, had spent six hours on the ocean on Sunday fishing for mako without a bite when the shark took a salmon bait.
What followed was a two-hour fight during which the shark took almost all of the 800 metres of line on Finch’s Pelagic 80-pound game outfit.
“That fish will be the talk of the town and the club for a long time, just because of the size of it,” Sturzaker said.
Finch, a Geelong resident, said he and Colac’s Sturzaker fought the shark for about two hours, about 20-kilometres south-east of Apollo Bay.
He said the catch was the holy grail of shark fishing – “if you’re into shark fishing it is”.
“It’d been a very ordinary day. We hadn’t caught a thing and we didn’t even get to see him before he took the bait. We weren’t that sure how big he was,” Finch said.
“It wasn’t until Neil went to trace him and lift him up to put the gas in that we realised how big he was.
“It’s pretty awesome. It’s a hell of a lot bigger than anything I’ve caught. Neil has caught a few makos over 200 kilos but I haven’t caught anything near that.
“My biggest mako shark was 62 kilos.”
Finch said the shark took almost all of the 800 metres of line after taking the hook and Sturzaker fired up the boat to give chase.
“You virtually start the process of chasing him to get all your line back. It would’ve been a good few kilometres we chased him,” he said.
“Then he’d run off again. He did four really big long runs. He was really pretty good – he only jumped at the start but we didn’t get to see him. He didn’t jump again.”
Having won the fight, Finch and Sturzaker had to tow the shark back to shore because it failed to fit in the back door.
With help, they rolled it up the Apollo Bay boat ramp and onto the jetty to drop it into the boat, before weighing it at Landpower Colac.