One of the largest sharks ever recorded off the coast of Britain has been landed by an angler who has now set his sights on catching an even bigger specimen.
Hampshire-based Graeme Pullen did battle with the mammoth 450lb porbeagle off the Cornish coast after it snapped up his 2lb pollack bait. Several other mighty specimens to 300lb were also hooked during the hectic trip, all of which were tagged and released as part of a research programme into the fearsome species.
But the conservation-minded angler isn’t satisfied with his latest conquest, and now wants to beat Joyce Yallop’s British mako shark record of 500lb, set back in 1971.
Mako sharks have become an increasingly elusive quarry in recent years, but Graeme is confident of achieving his goal. “There hasn’t been a mako landed off the coast of Britain for several decades, but I know they are living off Falmouth - people just aren’t fishing for them. I reckon there could be record-breaking specimens of 600lb-plus out there.” In a bid to further enhance his chances of success, Graeme has built a customised shark-tagging vessel named 'Hi Sea Drifter’.
“The boat has been colour co-ordinated to optimise the chance of drawing in sharks. Bright yellow is the ultimate shark attractor - a fact that has been proved by conclusive experiments.” One of the last men to do battle on rod and line with a monster mako is Cornwall-based charter boat skipper Frank Vinnicombe. The keen shark angler, who is now in his seventies, had the privilege of landing a massive specimen of 397lb more than 30 years ago. Speaking to Angling Times, he echoed Graeme’s optimism about current British shark stocks.
“We had plenty of fish to 300lb and lost even bigger ones off Falmouth. That was a long time ago, and we haven’t fished for them since, but nobody else has either, so who knows what is actually out there? Personally, I reckon there are still some real monsters swimming about off our shores just waiting to be caught.”
Another to have come face to face with Cornwall’s big makos on plenty of occasions is David Turner, who appeared in the pages of Angling Times in June 1971 with a 355lb giant. He believes a record is a definite possibility if the species is targeted at the right time of year.
“The best period is at the end of June when the spring tides are easing off, and one of the best places is between the mouth of the Helford and Black Head, no more than three miles from shore at Falmouth. There used to be vast numbers of sharks around the Cornwall area in the 1970s, but they mysteriously vanished. That said, there is always the chance they could have returned,” said David.