The crew of The Ultimate Fishing Show were treated to a remarkable event during what started off as a routine outing. Host Matt Watson was pulling in an estimated 550-pound swordfish on a handline off New Zealand when the fish suddenly surged forward and began thrashing on the line. The sudden movement led Watson to believe the swordfish had broken the line and was attempting to dislodge the bait. The anglers moved the ship closer to get a better look at the swordfish, and then realized they were completely wrong.
The swordfish had in fact not broken the line, but sighted a mako shark approaching. By the time Watson arrived the shark had already begun the attack. It started by disabling the swordfish’s tail with large, gruesome bites.
“They take away the motor,” Watson said. “They always go straight for the tail to immobilize big prey like this. I’ve seen it before. This is how they take them down–big bite radius. He comes in here, boom, taken away the tail.”
Watson could only watch as the one-sided battle reached its inevitable outcome. Acting quickly, the angler plunged a camera under the waters to give viewers a rare glimpse of how a mako shark takes on prey nearly as large as itself. Afterwards, the crew attempted to haul the mortally wounded swordfish onboard while the shark circled the boat.
“That is the biggest mako shark I’ve ever seen; that is massive,” Watson says. “He’s trying to keep his catch from us. He is trying to keep us at bay from what he thinks is his kill.”
In the end Watson and his crew were able to bring the swordfish onto the ship. The damage inflicted by the mako was significant. The worst was focused almost entirely on the fish’s tail, which was attached to the rest of the body only by shreds. The video of the fight and aftermath have since been posted online and went viral.
“People are just fascinated by sharks,” Watson told 3 News. “They stir up all sorts of emotions and intrigue. They’re out there in the ocean and we can’t see where they are. Then you string the words shark and attack together, and everyone wants to see it.”
The fishing host remarked that sharks were “incredible creatures,” and that this fish tale did not end entirely in a loss for the mako. The crew shared a portion of the swordfish with the shark, which chomped down on it begrudgingly.
You can see video of the battle here: