A Fisherman was almost the catch of the day after a nine-foot great white shark jumped into his boat on the NSW north coast.
Terry Selwood, 73, was fishing at Evans Head on Saturday when a great white shark came over the motor and on to the floor of his boat.
Mr Selwood told The Daily Telegraph the shark weighed 200kg and was 2.7m long. He said he was fishing at his usual spot, located just 1km off the bank at Evans Head.
“I was fishing out there on Saturday afternoon, just sitting on my ice box. I felt my line move and I thought I had a bite,” Mr Selwood said.
“I saw a blur out of the corner of my eye and instinctively I stuck my arm out. The shark’s pectoral fin hit me on my arm and I fell backwards on my hands and knees.
“I didn’t know what happened and then I looked over to the side and I saw a bloody shark in my boat. It was thrashing all over the place.
“I grabbed onto the rocket launcher that goes across the top of the boat, and stepped on top of the gunwale. My arm was swollen, I thought it was broken.
“I grabbed my handheld radio and called in, I said I’m in trouble and I’ve got a shark in my boat.
“They took me to the hospital and when they asked me what happened, I said a shark jumped in my boat. They thought I was joking, they thought I might be drunk, saying ‘yeah yeah what a story to tell’.”
Mr Selwood said he sees a lot of sharks off Evans Head.
“I’ve had them brush by the side of my boat, I see them put their heads out of the water. But they don’t usually jump in people’s boats.”
The shark had to be taken off the boat using a forklift. An autopsy will now be carried out.
This incident comes off the back of the state government’s decision to remove shark nets off five north coast beaches — including Evans Head — because they are worried about migrating whales being caught in them.
The government will start removing the nets from Lighthouse Beach (Ballina), Sharpes Beach (Ballina), Shelly Beach (Ballina), Seven Mile Beach (Lennox Head) and Evans Head Beach today.
Genevieve Francis was down at the beach with friends watching the sunset when she saw a Marine Rescue boat shoot past.
The group went over to the harbour to see what was going on, and saw Mr Selwood step off the rescue boat with blood all over his arms.
Marine Rescue brought him back to shore before going to retrieve his boat and its unexpected passenger.
“The Marine Rescue boat then went over to Khaos Reef and towed Terry’s boat back in,” the 25-year-old said.
“We followed it around and helped Terry’s family pull the boat onto the ramp. When we looked inside the boat, there was a huge shark.
“The shark had the chair in its mouth where Terry would have been sitting. He was just pulling his line in when the shark jumped over the engine and launched itself into the boat.”
The experienced fisherman has since returned home and said the close shave would not stop him returning to the water.
NSW Game Fishing Association’s president Garry Chenoweth said the incident is a “freak anomaly”.
“We’ve had some pretty close calls with sharks over the years,” Mr Chenoweth said.
“We’ve had them breach out of the water. But this is a new one. That’s not something I would enjoy.
“There will be more and more interaction with great whites over the next five years because their population has increased tenfold over the past 10 years.
“Their numbers have come back really well and strong, especially in the certain areas that people know, in their breeding and feeding grounds.
“This shark is more than likely not been hooked. The reality of it is, if a great white was going to take the bait, they generally swim away from the boat.
“Great whites do breach the water chasing seals or birds, but this is a bit of a freak anomaly. I’ve never seen that before but there is a first time for everything.
“Most of our anglers and members of the association have a real affinity to look after these animals, so that’s not something we would have enjoyed seeing.”
A monster great white recently surfaced off Boulder Beach, near Lennox Head, 40 minutes north of Evans Head. It surfaced close to two surfers, one of whom was bitten by a shark off Ballina last year.