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This One Didn't Get Away


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This one didn't get away

KNOWN to mates as Steve Irwin Junior, this devout fisherman has had his fair share of shark tales - literally.

In a revelation that will send a chill down the spine of all northern beaches swimmers, last week Damon Horak caught this 2.74m, 150kg bull shark just off North Head.

It took the 20-year-old Lindfield fisherman just half an hour to bring the beast in, and took more than five men to lift it into the 4m boat.

``It's all about the challenge,'' Mr Horak said.

``It was me and another guy on my boat and there was no way we could lift it, so we got a hand hook and put it in its mouth and tied a rope to it, but the rope snapped.

``So then we tied a rope around its mouth and a rope around its tail and dragged it to shore.

``I had it in my arms and had to make a lasso, I was half in the water with it.''

Mr Horak said he had noted an increase in sharks in the area, which could be due to warmer ocean temperatures and schools of bait fish.

Recently bull sharks - similar to the one caught by Mr Horak at North Head - were also spied headed for swimmers at Dee Why and South Narrabeen beaches.

``There are loads of sharks out there,'' he said.

``I think it has to do with the warm water and the storms flushing the dirt out which attracts them.''

Taronga Zoo shark expert John West said other hot spots for sharks included Dobroyd Point, around the Spit Bridge and Middle Harbour.

``These sharks naturally occur in the harbour,'' Mr West said. ``Fishermen may think there are more because when you start fishing you attract sharks, but there are no other indicators that there are more sharks than normal.

``We have had a lot of cold water currents in December and January that bring with it a lot of nutrients, which attract fish, which attract bigger fish, which attract sharks.''

He said the last shark fatality in Middle Harbour was in 1963 and swimmers should not be scared to go into the water.

Mr Horak, who caught his first shark at the age of 13, said he didn't go out angling for sharks but sometimes they took a bite while he was chasing kingfish.

On Friday he lost two sharks, which he said could have been small great whites. ``They were either two large mako sharks or two small great whites, they were about 2.5m,'' he said.

``We fought them for about 5-10 minutes and then they jumped out of the water about 50m from the boat.

``We fought them for about an hour and a half and they dragged the boat from North Head to Manly and back again, it would have been at least 2km.

``But then it started to get dark, I only had a quarter of a tank of fuel left and they were taking us out to sea, then the line gave way.''

The painter and carpenter said: ``None of the bull shark was wasted - it took me four hours to cut it up and give it out to all my friends.''


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John West a shark expert. Is this a Gee Up??? :074::074::074:

Nope..no gee up...That's his real name.

He is the Acting General Manager of Life Sciences at the Zoo.

Here's his pic. (page 3 of the PDF) John West



Edited by MallacootaPete
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