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Sunday, November 27, 2011

catch of 575-pound tiger shark world record

Surprise catch of 575-pound tiger shark could shatter world record

By: Pete Thomas,

Brett Sinclair's recent catch of a 575-pound tiger shark is impressive not merely because of the predator's sheer size, but because it was made on fishing line with a breaking strength of only 13 pounds ... aboard a boat that was not much longer than the fearsome beast.

If the catch is approved by the International Game Fish Assn., it'll become a new world record for the line class, eclipsing the present record by more than 220 pounds. That process could take weeks but Sinclair had been fishing in the Dampier Classic off Western Australia, and competitors are supposed to abide by IGFA guidelines.

Clearly, the angler had been after smaller game. His group was anchored when the shark took the bait, and had to quickly pull anchor and give chase, to avoid having the reel stripped of its line.

"It took hours for the shark to tire," Sinclair, 27, told Perth Now.

The boat was only 19 feet long and jaws dropped when the great shark materialized at the surface, thrashing.

"It was an intense moment," Sinclair said, adding that the shark was far too large to be brought onto the boat and instead was secured to its side and towed into port at Dampier.

Sinclair had been fishing with Chris Bonnici, his cousin, and Aaron Pierkarski, the boat's captain. Sinclair told the Herald Sun that the group had previously caught a smaller shark. "When this one took the bait I thought it would be about the same size," he said. "I actually asked the other lads if they wanted to grab the rod and have a go, but luckily they said no."

The Dampier Classic is hosted annually by the King Bay Game Fishing Club. Both the tournament and the club emphasize catch-and-release except when exceptional catches are made. Perhaps because killing sharks has become so controversial, the tournament did not publicize this particular catch.

For the sake of comparison, the IGFA lists the all-tackle world record tiger shark catch as a 1,785-pound specimen caught on much stronger line off Ulladulla, Australia, in 2004.

-- Image shows Brett Sinclair, Chris Bonnici and Capt. Aaron Pierkarski (left to right) posing in Dampier with the 575-pound tiger shark.

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