A young Bundeena fisherman in a “tinny” reeled in a 3.28-metre bull shark during a “tug-of-war” that lasted four hours in Port Hacking, NSW.
Kai George, 16, was assisted by mates Daniel Vergitos and Lachie Dick as the shark towed his boat 4.2km from Lilli Pilli to Yowie Bay and Gymea Bay and close to the North West Arm entrance.
The group was shocked at the size of the bull shark, which they released after taking photos and videos.
The ordeal started at 11.30pm on Easter Sunday and ended at 3.30am on Monday.
Kai, a first-year apprentice carpenter who describes himself as “a really keen fisherman”, said his goal was to prove bull sharks were common in the Hacking.
“People don’t believe these beautiful creatures exist in Port Hacking, but I had a drive to catch one and prove them wrong,” he said.
“I caught it in one of the most popular swimming spots, off Lilli Pilli.
“There is a little sand bar and a big drop-off [into deep water] and people take their boats there and swim in exactly where I caught this shark.
“We never intended to kill it. We released it, and watched it swim away.
“They are beautiful creatures and don’t deserve to die like that.”
The three mates took out two four-metre “tinnies”, anchored off Lilli Pilli and tied the boats together.
“We put down a bait of big bull mullet in 10 metres of water and pretty much went to sleep,” Kai said.
“We woke to the sound of a screaming reel.”
They then followed a devised plan, which was for Kai to fight the shark while his mates assisted and recorded the struggle.
“It was a team effort – I couldn’t have done it by myself,” Kai said.
“When I finally got it up to the side of the boat I pretty much went white.
“I didn’t know what to do because the shark was pretty much as big as the boat.
“Eventually we were able to tow it back to the Lilli Pilli sand bar, where we took photos in knee deep water.”