Great white shark terrifies fisherman as bloke accidentally hooks beast

An assembled crowd were "freaked out" when an unsuspecting fisherman cast off from the shoreline of a beach and hooked a great white shark.

The fisherman, Joel Gray, cast off on Matatā Beach in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, and thought he had attracted a large catch, but not one of the most fearsome predators of the world's oceans.

“I definitely didn’t expect it, I expected a bronze whaler if anything.

“Me and my mate were out the day before in kayaks in the same spot,” he said.

“Never seen one before around here, only baby hammerheads or bronze whalers. It was an exciting experience.”

The creature, a juvenile, breached the water six times before it broke loose, attracting a crowd, reports Stuff.

“The people were all pretty freaked out and amazed at the same time as they’d been swimming there not long ago. They were locals and said they have never seen a great white around before that day,” Gray, from Taupo, a town in the North Island, said.

The Department of Conservation recently warned people to remain vigilant after an increase in shark sightings around the Tauranga area. Tauranga is a coastal city just north west of where Joel had his exhilarating encounter.

“The large number of sightings are not only in the Bowentown area of the Tauranga Harbour but also along the coastline,” marine biologist Melissa Kellett said.

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DoC marine expert Clinton Duffy echoed Kellet's message.

“If you are visiting the ocean you need to be a little bit vigilant of what’s happening around you and swim where there are surf lifesaving patrols, and don’t swim or dive alone,” he said.

“If you are heading out on the water exercise caution and avoid swimming in the main channels where there are a lot of birds diving or belaying from kayaks and jet skis when fishing.”

A year ago this week, 19-year-old Kaelah Marlow, from Hamilton Australia died after a suspected shark attack at Waihi Beach on North Island, not far from the country's biggest city, Auckland, and also on the Bay of Plenty.

Shark attacks are unusual in the country and Kaelah's death is thought to have been the first fatality since 2013.

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