A FISHERMAN reeled in the catch of his life with a 17ft record-breaking shark.
Wayne Comben, of Stockheath Way, Havant, fought for two hours to catch the thresher shark, just off the Isle of Wight.
The monster fish was the same size as his boat and dragged it for four miles before it tired out a couple of miles off St Catherine’s Lighthouse.
It took all 46-year-old Mr Comben’s strength, and the help of his friend Graham Pullen to lift the rare visitor to the English Channel on board – and they nearly got dragged back into the water with it.
Mr Comben said: ‘We think it weighed about 450lb but that’s an estimate as we’d have to kill it to weigh it and we could never do that.
‘It’s a fabulous creature and it’s still swimming around now. It was huge.
‘We’d made four previous trips over three weeks looking for a thresher shark and found nothing, then – bingo!’
Mr Comben, a water engineer, said the creature jumped out of the water during the tussle. It leapt clear of the water four times.
‘It jumped out vertically, straightened up horizontally, then crashed back on to the water. It was an incredible sight. I had the rod in my hand and did everything I could to fight the fish.’
Afterwards the shark was released into the English Channel.
Thresher sharks are largely harmless to humans, although they can cause serious injury with their thrashing tails that they use to stun prey in the sea.
Darren Gook, a shark expert with the Sea Life centre network, said: ‘This is certainly a big shark.
‘Threshers are rare summer visitors to British waters, and rarely seen unless they happen to get caught by fishermen.
‘They are beautiful animals, completely harmless to man, and I am delighted that this one was released safely.
‘That tail can deliver a really powerful blow, so these fishermen may also have avoided potentially serious injury by letting this one go on its way.’