United Kingdom

Seven fishermen struggle to reel in a 550lb shark off Devon coast

A big game fisherman was left trembling after reeling in a record-breaking 550lb deadly shark in British waters.

Simon Davidson, 39, hooked the monster shark seven miles out from the Devon coast near Ilfracombe.

He fought for about an hour to reel in the porbeagle, a relative of the Great White, and his body was 'battered' by the ordeal.

He and six other fishermen wrestled to secure the creature to the side of their 37ft boat and take its measurement.

It measured almost seven feet long and had a girth of six feet, giving it an estimated weight of 550lbs - making it the biggest ever caught in British waters.

The porbeagle, a relative of the Great White, was seven feet long and weighed an estimated 550lbs, making it the biggest to ever be caught in British waters

The monster was reeled in after an hour-long battle that left big game fisherman Simon Davidson feeling 'battered', his whole body 'shaking' from the goliath's defiant resistance

Although large and powerful, porbeagles are not considered harmful to humans as they rarely come towards the shore

Big game fisherman Simon Davidson and his team unhooked the leviathan after reeling it in and measuring it. It swam back into the murky depths of freedom after being spared its life

The plumber, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, said: "I originally started as a fresh water angler but was drawn to the allure of big game fishing, so I was deliberately on the look out for big sharks.

"I'd heard the North Devon coast was a good spot for porbeagles and I knew Dan Hawkins at Reel Deal Charters was renowned for catching them.

"I hired his boat for two days and this one came along on the second day - it was by far the biggest we'd caught and one of the largest Dan had ever seen.

"My bait got taken and I didn't think it was a big fish because it hadn't started to fight yet.

"Then I reeled it into the side of the boat and it was a real monster.

"Suddenly it took off through the water and pulled around 600 metres of my line and it was a brutal battle to pull it back in.

"It was an hour of agony - imagine dragging over 500lbs of pure muscle. You get to the point where your legs and arms are shaking and you just think your body is going to give up.

"When I finally managed to get it to the side of the boat, six of us fought to hold it down and take its measurement.

"When you saw it in the water, you'd think it was a Great White - they're related so they look very similar. It's terrifying to think that sharks as huge as that are prowling our waters just seven miles out to sea."

After taking its measurement, Simon unhooked the shark and let it back into the sea.

The official record for the biggest porbeagle shark caught in the UK stands at 507lbs. It was caught in 1993 by Scots fisherman Chris Bennett off the Orkney Isles.

It took seven people to hold the seven-foot long sea beast still against the side of the boat while its measurements were taken

Porbeagles - Lamna nasus in Latin - are native to UK waters, along with blue sharks and thresher sharks

The unsuspecting porbeagle was hooked seven miles out from the Devon coast, near Ilfracombe

Simon Davidson said the giant fish looked like a Great White, adding it was 'terrifying' to think such monsters prowled the British coast

Potential record fish must be weighed on land for them to be considered an official record by the British Records Fish Committee, meaning they have to be killed.

Most anglers are unwilling to do that, so they measure the shark and estimate its weight.

Along with blue sharks and thresher sharks, porbeagles - Lamna nasus in Latin - are native to UK waters.

They are large powerful sharks but are not considered harmful to humans as they rarely come towards the shore.

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