Most keen fishos have seen a mako jump at some point during their time on the water, and the same thought runs through all of our heads: “What would happen if it jumped onto our boat?” Well, Kane O’Reilly and Murray Clarke recently found out the answer to this question the hard way.
In early February, the pair headed out of Whangamata for a day’s gamefishing. On only Kane’s second trip of the year, they decided to cruise towards Mayor Island with the lure spread trailing behind.
After trolling all morning with no luck, they managed to pull in one of the biggest skippies Kane’s ever seen, which he estimated at 8kg. It was quickly deployed, and it only took ten minutes for the reel to start screaming.
“At first we thought he was a little fish. I started reeling him pretty easy,” Kane says.
“We saw it was a shark after we managed to get him within 20 metres of the boat, and then he shot probably 50 metres straight down. But then he turned, and started coming straight back towards us.”
The first jump, Kane says, was about 10m from their boat, but the second was only a metre away. It was at this point they realised how big the shark was. When the fish dived down another time, prepping to launch itself skyward again, Kane shouted at Murray to throw down the throttle. But just as they took off, a loud bang sounded from the front.
“I thought we’d hit something, but then I saw the shark. It landed right on the roof where my mate was standing. The big bloody fish rolled off the hard top and into the water.
“It had to be 400kg – the body looked like a bloody barrel.”
The pair were extremely lucky, as Kane pointed out himself. If it had landed in the cockpit, it could have easily crushed him or caused far more damage to the boat.
At the time, however, Kane couldn’t stop to reflect on what had just happened.
“It was back in the water and I was still hooked up to it. It took out a whole bunch of line but then thankfully it pulled the hook.
“We sat down and had a beer and thought, ‘Jeez, we were lucky then.’”
Thankfully the boat sustained no structural damage, with the shark only knocking the spotlight off the roof, breaking a hatch and making a dent where it landed.
“Ironically,” Kane laughs, “the boat’s a 7.6m Marco Sou’wester.”
The shark was the biggest Kane has ever seen in his 20 years of gamefishing, but that didn’t stop him putting the lures back out and carrying on trolling.
17 February 2021