When Wayne Comben and Graeme Pullen caught a massive 14-foot thresher shark near the Isle of Wight, they agreed that it just might be the largest shark to ever be hooked in the United Kingdom. They should know, Comben and Pullen were the anglers who pulled in a 10-foot porbeagle shark last year that shattered the British shark record, if only unofficially. At the time, many experts estimated the porbeagle to weigh between 500 and 550 pounds, likely exceeding the current British record of 507 pounds. However, the British Records Fish Committee did not recognize catch-and-release records. Like many anglers who have turned down a record in order to return their catch unharmed, Comben and Pullen did not regret their decision one bit. As luck may have it, the anglers had the chance to repeat their record-breaking experience with an even bigger specimen.
“We went out looking for a thresher shark thinking we would be lucky to get one at all,” Pullen told the Daily Mail.
Setting out on their 17-foot boat, the anglers did not have to wait long for bite. What they did not expect was another giant shark.
“It took two hours to reel it towards the boat and in that time it jumped out of the water three times,” Pullen recalled. “It looked huge.”
Measuring only three feet less than their dinghy, the shark had no trouble dragging the craft for four miles into major shipping lanes. By the time the anglers were able to bring it alongside the boat, all parties involved were exhausted. The two men then carefully measured the shark, at one point almost falling into the water.
“We reckon it weighed about 550 pounds, far in excess of the current British record,” Comben said. “But there was no way we were going to kill such a superb specimen just to have a name on a piece of paper.”
What they did do was record the catch on camera, which can be seen below.
Thresher sharks have been known to reach weights nearing 1,100 pounds. In 1983, anglers caught the largest-ever on line and rod off the coast of New Zealand. That shark weighed 767 pounds.