IT wasn’t quite as big as Jaws, but a group of Lake Macquarie fishermen were left wondering if they were going to need a bigger boat after landing a 320-kilogram monster about 30 nautical miles off Swansea.
Ben, 25, told the Newcastle Herald he battled with this tiger shark for about two hours off the Shelf during the Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club summer pointscore on Sunday, eventually getting it into his mate’s boat.
‘‘I was pretty happy, that’s what it’s all about,’’ Ben, who asked not to be further identified, said.
‘‘I felt the bite and battled with it for a while – tiger sharks are very aggressive sharks.’’
The shark was weighed at the entrance to Swansea channel outside Swansea RSL and images of the shark inside the boat and on dry land were posted on Facebook.
The story has sparked a massive response from Newcastle Herald readers online and on Facebook, with more than 600 comments pouring in over a few hours today.
The catch drew criticism from some corners, where it was dubbed "cruel" and "disgusting".
"I don't know what's more disgusting, the pointless death of this beautiful creature or the number of ignorant bogans who think it's ok," Jennifer Tayler wrote.
"I have great respect for sharks and it really is very sad to see this majestic creature on the back of some guy's boat," Nikki Fairman wrote.
Numerous commenters also came to the fishermen's defence, arguing game fishing was a longstanding sport and tiger sharks were not endangered.
Katrina Jean Del Boccio said she believe the men were receiving criticism over a catch that probably exceeded their own expectations.
"These poor guys went on a fishing trip and just happened to catch the biggest thing they will probably ever catch," she said.
"Everyone goes fishing to catch the biggest fish. I know I do."
Cameron Fisher congratulated the fishermen on their efforts.
"I don't really fish, but that seems an extraordinary catch," he wrote.
"Good on you mate."
It wasn’t the first tiger shark – a species known to move down the east coast with the current following food – to be caught in Hunter waters recently after a Port Stephens fisherman landed a 319-kilogram tiger shark off Port Stephens last weekend.
With warmer water temperatures and a slowing of the current, increased numbers of bait fish also sparked a big marlin run.
Upwards of 70 marlin were tagged on Sunday, heralding the start of the season.
The crew aboard Nelson Bay boat Born Free tagged eight black marlin and one striped marlin.
Shane Wilson’s charter boat Rush Hour nabbed an elusive grand slam – two blacks, a striped and a blue marlin.
The timing couldn’t be better as Hunter game fishers gear up for the February-March tournament season.