Whangamata fishermen badly shaken after giant mako shark jumps aboard their boat

Whangamatā fishing buddies Kane O’Reilly and Murray Clarke are counting their lucky stars after they hooked a massive mako shark that jumped out of the water and landed on the roof of their boat yesterday.

The pair of keen big-game fishermen were live baiting for marlin yesterday between Whangamatā and Mayor Island when they hooked what they thought was a small shark about midday.

“I was winding it in and it got heavier and heavier,” O’Reilly said.

He said the shark bolted down on a heavy drag, turned round and headed straight to the boat, flying about 5m out of the water six to seven metres away.

“The shark hit the water, did another massive jump and landed about 1m off the boat, which scared the shit out of us.

“I told my mate to gas the boat to get out of here because I said it is going to jump in the cockpit,” O’Reilly said.

“The next thing I felt this massive bang like we had just run into a ship and I said to my mate ‘what the hell was that’ and this bloody shark rolled off the roof and down the windscreen and on to the deck and then rolled off,” O’Reilly said.

A minute or so later, the shark broke off the fishing hook and disappeared.

O’Reilly estimated the shark was about 4m long when it came crashing on to his 7.6m aluminium hardtop Marco southwester called Black Betty.

“It would have been 400kg. It was massive, absolutely massive.

“If it had landed in the cockpit I don’t think we would be here to tell the tale,” O’Reilly said.

Clarke’s memory of the incident was trying to power away after the shark jumped out of the water a second time and hearing an almighty crash.

“I have been game fishing for 20 years and that is the biggest shark I have ever seen.

“If it had of landed in the back of the boat instead of on the roof it would have killed Kane,” Clarke said.

After the incident, O’Reilly said the pair sat down for 10 minutes and had a quiet beer and, once the shaking had stopped, they put lures out and carried on fishing.

Kane said he is getting the local boat repair guys around tonight to check for structural damage and discuss a possible insurance claim. The shark broke the spotlights on the roof, the hatch, dented the roof and the board cabin, and bent the bow rail.

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.

In February 1999, an enormous 370kg mako shark was caught off Kaikōura.

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