Two giant sharks, which together weigh more than the entire Munster pack which started last weekend’s Pro12 final, have been caught off the Clare coast.
Amazingly, these massive six-gill sharks were caught on the same day by the same angler using just a line and reel.
The sharks, which together weighed 2,600lbs or 185 stone, would both have broken the Irish record if they were killed, brought ashore and officially weighed on scales – but both sharks were released after their capture.
The sharks were caught by English sea angler, Andy Griffith, who was fishing off the west Clare coast with Clare company, Carrigaholt Sea Angling.
Mr Griffith caught a third, smaller shark during this fruitful fishing trip. Though not a record breaker, this third shark still weighted an estimated 800lbs, more than the combined weight of the Munster front row.
“He [Andy Griffith] had one which we estimated at around 1,150lbs and another at around 1,400lbs. It was something truly exceptional, two sharks of over 1,000lbs on the same day is incredible,” said Luke Aston of Carrigaholt Sea Angling.
“These are massive creatures, one was about 14 foot in length and the other was around 17 foot. We normally operate a catch and release with all the fish we catch. We did bring in one shark five or six years ago which is still the Irish record.
“To claim a new record, you need to weigh the shark on the shore. It is very safe to say that both of these fish would have broken the Irish record if we had brought them ashore. There are a lot of big fish out there at the moment.”
Large sharks like these are occasionally caught as by-catch by commercial fishing vessels using giant nets. These massive creatures were caught using just a specialised fishing rod and reel.
“These fish were caught on a line. It is specialist fishing gear but it is still just a line. The breaking strain on the line is just 80lbs, so it is a case of just playing the fish, or tiring out the fish,” Mr Aston explained.
“The sharks will recover after this. We have tagged and released sharks here [in Clare] that have been caught as far away as the Cape Verde Islands, more than 3,000 miles away.”
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