This mammoth blue shark could have tipped the scales at nearly 250lb, smashing the British record in the process.
But Bob Pollard decided to release the monster specimen rather than kill it, meaning it can never be claimed.
Length and girth calculations put the shark at 248lb, well above both the long-standing 218lb British boat-caught best and the 222lb blue shark taken by Wayne Little in 2010 which was also returned alive, but the 43-year-old builder had no intention of taking the fish back to shore to be weighed.
Bob, who snared the predator while aboard the vessel Bite Adventures, out of Penzance in Cornwall, said: “There’s no way I’d murder that fish. A British record sounds nice but I wouldn’t kill a fish for it.”
The Shark Club of Great Britain member, who had a 118lb blue shark earlier this year, was out with experienced captain Chippy Chapman and a group of other anglers.
“It was a fair day out, that’s for sure,” laughed Bob.
“It didn’t really sink in at first, I just thought ‘that’s a big shark’ but when Chippy shook my hand immediately and said it was a 200lb’er I just couldn’t believe it.
“It finally hit home on the way back in when we were looking at the photos, which don’t really do it as much justice as actually seeing the beast. It’s difficult to comprehend how fat the thing was - it was so out of proportion.”
The shark, which measured 98 inches long and 45 inches around the middle, took a mackerel flapper 30ft off the bottom in 250ft of water.
Bob said: “When the reel clicked it was a long way from the boat. There’s 300yds of braid, plus backing, on the reel and after its first run I could see the knot. It was probably a good half an hour before I got it in. It put a fair old bend in the rod and I was strumming the braid like a guitar at times.”
Trevor Cozens, who photographed the capture, said: “It was an incredible fish. My personal view is that it seems a madness you have to kill a fish to claim it. You don’t in coarse fishing, as long as you’ve weighed it and got the correct witnesses. I accept there are a lot of issues with weighing a fish on a boat but maybe recording length and girth is the way forward.”