Pending Record Tiger Shark Caught on 13-Pound Line

Brett Sinclair, Chris Bonnici and Capt. Aaron Pierkarski (left to right) posing in Dampier with the 575-pound tiger shark. (Courtesy Dampier Classic) (Click photo for larger view)

If you were trying to catch a record tiger shark, would you do it from a 19-foot rented boat using 13-pound line – in the pitch dark?

Obviously not, but that's what 27-year-old Australian angler Brett Sinclair did two weeks ago.

He was fishing in the Dampier Classic tournament on Western Australia's north coast when he hooked a 575-pound tiger shark using line better suited for catching snapper.

"We had already caught a small tiger shark an hour or two before," Sinclair told Australia's The Sunday Times newspaper. "When this one took the bait I thought it would be about the same size. I actually asked the other lads if they wanted to grab the rod and have a go, but luckily they said no.

"When the shark started to run we had to drop the anchor and go after it. It took hours for the shark to tire."

It took three hours from hookup to land the fish, just after midnight. When the shark finally came up and Sinclair and the other two men on the boat – his cousin and the boat's captain – realized how big it was, it was "an intense moment," he said. "You've got a ... monster thrashing around. The tail was smashing the boat and water was going everywhere."

The shark was way too big to put in the boat, so they just lashed it to the side and towed it in.

It was the biggest fished caught in the 40-year history of the Dampier Classic, held by the King Bay Game Fishing Club. Sinclair said he caught the fish near Dolphin Island in the Dampier Archipelago.

If the record is certified by the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA), Sinclair will have eclipsed the old 6-kg (13-lb) line class record by about 220 pounds. Since all Dampier Classic tournament participants were apparently supposed to fish by IGFA guidelines, if Sinclair did that it should make IGFA certification easier and quicker.

The IGFA all-tackle world record tiger shark catch is 1,785 pounds, also caught off Australia but with heavier gear, in 2004.

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