Monster shark hauled from Hastings River


THE two words uttered by fisherman Denis Rivers when he hauled in this massive beast will be left to your imagination but there is nothing fake about the bull shark in this story.

The Port Macquarie fisho, who true to the sport refuses to give away his favourite spot to drop a line, was left cut and bleeding after a one hour struggle with the monster.

With nothing between him and the prize catch but his rod and a sturdy line, Denis fought for what felt like hours from the banks of the Hastings River before he got his first glimpse of what he had actually landed.

When the three metre bull shark emerged into the shallows, Denis could do nothing more than call out for help.

“There was a fellow up the road in a campervan. When I got it onto the bank I had to yell out and wake him up to come down and help me,” Denis said.

“When he first saw it he said ‘holy f*#k’ and we tried to move it but couldn’t.

“I called my mate Howie Griffin who drove down to where we were and we pulled it out of the river with his car.”

Denis said there are plenty of large bull sharks in the river with his average catch between 1.5 and 1.8 metres. But he says this is not the biggest he has caught.

“It’s not uncommon, I’ve caught heaps of sharks in the river – I have hooked fish bigger than this one.”

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The shark is estimated to have weighed an impressive 250 kilograms and by the size of its girth, Denis believes it may well be pregnant.

“They often come in from the ocean and swim up the river to drop their pups and then go again,” he said.

Yesterday, Denis was still recovering from the physical struggle with his prize catch, which was released soon after being caught.

“She put up a bit of a fight. I’m still sore now. All my hands are cut up,” he said.

While he remains coy about just where on the Hastings River he caught the ‘big one’, Denis is happy to share his bait of choice.

“I just use a bit of eel – they love it,” he said.

Bull sharks are not uncommon in local rivers.

The Department of Primary Industries says bull sharks penetrate far into river systems for extended periods where they sometimes breed. Females normally give birth in estuaries and river mouths and the young can remain in the river for up to five years. Bull sharks by nature are aggressive and prefer to swim in shallow, murky inshore waters. According to the DPI, they’ll eat ‘almost anything’.

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