A fisherman has lived to tell the tale of how he ended up with a great white shark, in the bottom of his boat.
Terry Selwood, 73, was fishing offshore at Evans Head on the New South Wales north coast when the shark launched itself into his boat.
“I caught a blur of something coming over the boat … and the pectoral fin of the shark hit me on the forearm and knocked me down on the ground to my hands and knees,” Mr Selwood said.
“He came right over the top of the motor and then dropped onto the floor.”
“He was 2.7 metres long and about 200 kilos.”
The boat measured 1.4 metres across and 4.5 metres long — a tight squeeze for a man and a shark.
“There I was on all fours and he’s looking at me and I’m looking at him and then he started to do the dance around and shake and I couldn’t get out quick enough onto the gunnel,” Mr Selwood said.
“I was losing a fair amount of blood, I was stunned, I couldn’t register what happened and then I thought oh my God, I’ve got to get out of here.”
Mr Selwood reached for his radio and called the local marine rescue volunteers at Evans Head.
Marine Rescue Unit commander Karen Brown said a crew was sent out to rescue Mr Selwood and then went back out a second time to retrieve the fisherman’s boat and the shark.
‘He must have come up four feet out of the water’
Mr Selwood said the conditions on Saturday afternoon when the incident happened were smooth, and there was no surface fish or clear reason why the shark would breech.
“I didn’t have a burly out, which does attract sharks,” he said.
“I was using two little bits of blue pilchard to fish for snapper on the bottom of the ocean, but that line was straight under the boat, not out the back where he came from.”
“For some unknown reason he just launched himself out of the water and he must have come up four feet out of the water to clear my outboard motor and drop straight in the boat.”
For such a close brush with a shark, Mr Selwood came off relatively lightly.
“He just bounced around in there and he struck my arm a couple of times and I thought he’d broke my arm to be honest but it’s just torn the skin off it.
“People said I’d been bitten by a shark but he didn’t, he just hit my arm because sharks have very rough skin and he just tore the skin off it.”
Mr Selwood was taken to hospital and treated for his injuries. He has since returned home where he said he was nursing a very swollen arm.
‘I’ve never had one do this’
At first Mr Selwood said he thought the animal was a mako shark but he was told by a Department of Primary Industries (DPI) representative it was a great white.
Mr Selwood said the DPI had lifted the shark out of his boat with a forklift and taken it away for an autopsy to confirm its age and gender.
Mr Selwood said he had been fishing for close to 60 years, but had never had been through anything like this.
“I’ve had ’em come up and brush the side of my boat, I’ve had a white pointer swim around my boat, I’ve had ’em take fish off my line, but I’ve never had one do this,” he said.
Despite his close encounter, Mr Selwood said he was desperate to get back out to wet a line.
“It won’t deter me from fishing, no way in the world,” he said.
He said he would have to find a bigger animal if he ever wanted to top the experience.
“I think next time I might find a crocodile to wrestle, just to stay in the limelight,” he said.
“But really, it’s not a great story, it’s just a mundane thing that just happened and it’s over and done with, but something that I’ll remember.”
“But we’re all well and now I’ll just get on with life and repair the damage he made to my boat.”