North sea record porbeagle caught off Whitby

A MAMMOTH three hour tug of war ended in victory for Sam Ward with the shock capture of this huge porbeagle estimated at 365lb – the biggest ever caught off the North Yorkshire coast.

The fish, which is also believed to be a North Sea record, was captured by the 41-year-old angler from Holbeach, Lincolnshire, during a two day trip aboard Shy Torque out of Whitby.

Anchored around 30 miles offshore, the giant shark was taken after two other porbeagles - weighing over 200lb and 175lb - had been landed by his companions Steve Herrick and Richard Furness. Sam, who’s previous biggest fish was a 38lb carp, admitted he was in total shock after battling with the fish of a lifetime. “We didn’t even see the fish for over two hours and it took me over three hours to actually land it – I was completely exhausted by the end.” 

The fish dived to a depth of around 75m in just 20 seconds after taking Sam’s whole mackerel bait and even managed to spin the boat during the scrap. Measuring 90 inches long and 56 inches thick at the head it was estimated by skipper Rich Ward to weigh around 365lb.

The official world record porbeagle is 507lb which was landed off Pentland Firth, Scotland in 1993 by Christopher Bennett. Fish of this size are extremely rare, however, and only a few captures over 400lb have ever been reported including a rumoured 500lb-plus fish landed by Graeme Pullen off Cornwall last year.

Shark fishing fanatic Dave Turner - who is one of only a handful anglers to have boated blue, mako and porbeagle sharks exceeding 100lb in British waters - believes the capture is even more remarkable due to the location where it was made. “These species have become more popular in the last decade but the biggest fish are very localised and not often associated with the North Sea.

“Most of the big fish are found off the coasts of Cornwall or the West of Scotland so this capture is extremely special,” he said.

Sam, whose previous sea fishing experience amounts to catching cod and flatfish, now can’t wait to get out again. “I didn’t expect to catch anything like this when I agreed to the trip but now I want some more of the action and have booked the boat again for later in the year.”

Anyone interested in fishing on Shy Torque can do so by contacting skipper Rich Ward on 07733 233352 or 07747 848406.