Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Shark takes kayak man for a ride

A man sea-fishing from a kayak was left wishing he had a bigger boat when he was dragged for half a mile after hooking a 6ft (1.8m) shark.

Rupert Kirkwood, 51, was fishing from the tiny craft a mile off the Devon coast in the Bristol Channel when he hooked a 65lb (29.5kg) tope shark.

The species is harmless but that did not stop the fish turning tail and dragging Mr Kirkwood, a conservationist and vet, along behind it on his small kayak.

He told the Western Morning News he had been sitting on the sea off Ilfracombe in poor weather for four hours without a bite when he felt a "great tug" on the line, which was baited with mackerel.
"These creatures are known to do a run and it is just like Jaws - the line flew off the reel for what seemed like about 10 seconds," he told the paper.

"I tightened up the drag and swung the rod around and it started pulling me along - eventually I reeled it in and carefully lifted it out by its pectoral fin and tail.

"It was thrilling to catch something that big and it knocks spots off anything I have landed before."
Mr Kirkwood, from Holsworthy, Devon, has been fishing using the small kayak for around 10 years. His adventures on the boat have seen him paddle the entire coastline of Cornwall and part of the north Devon coastline. He has also used it to sail from Cornwall across to the Isles of Scilly, a distance of 28 miles (45km).

The tope shark, or school shark, can grow to more than 6ft (1.8m) in length and weigh more than 100lb (45kg). They are found all around the world and generally live further out into the sea but can come in close to the shore. They sometimes live in small schools and are listed as a vulnerable species.
The shark Mr Kirkwood caught was later released unharmed.


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