Huge shark caught off the Yorkshire coast

The porbeagle shark caught off the coast of Whitby. Picture by Steve Watson.
The porbeagle shark caught off the coast of Whitby. Picture by Steve Watson.

A huge 17 stone shark has been reeled in by a trio of anglers off the coast of Whitby.

The mammoth fish, believed to be a porbeagle shark, which is a cousin of the great white, was caught by the group as they fished around 15 miles out to sea.

Steve Watson, one of the anglers who helped reel in the monster shark told the Whitby Gazette: "It was incredible! They come up to the surface and swim round the boat, it's amazing to watch."

But bringing the shark to the top was no easy task. The anglers were locked in a tense battle for around 40 minutes, described by Steve as "very difficult."

He added: "They are very delicate when they take the bait but after about 30 seconds we decided to tighten the line. It took about 40 minutes to land."

He added that porbeagles look remarkably similar to great white sharks:

"They look very, very much like a great white, the only way to tell the difference is by their fins - they are very, very similar."

Steve, along with Andy Watson and Matt Ward have been shark fishing for around three years, largely off the coast of Cornwall.

But this year they decided to invest in a boat to search the North Sea where the water is slightly colder and the sharks feel more at home.

The trio from Wakefield and Dewsbury, have bought a boat called 'Isobel' which is currently based in Whitby harbour.

They plan to spend the summer exploring the North Sea for any more sightings of sharks.

Steve added: "Talking to local charter boat skippers, we think this could be the first shark caught off Whitby this year. Using special hooks which we get from USA, we were able to easily unhook the fish in the water, enabling it to swim off safely."

The group have previously caught sharks believed to be around 500lb (35 stone) and say they estimate this shark to be 250lb (17 stone). Despite their scary appearance, porbeagle sharks are not thought to be harmful to humans. They are normally found at least 10 miles out to sea and are shy creatures with no reported cases of one fatally wounding a person.

The catch follows a story last year when another group caught a porbeagle off the coast of Whitby. Rich Cope, 38, who runs the Whitby-based boat charters, Mistress Sea Angling told the Whitby Gazette in June last year:

"It was like trying to control a car on a fishing rod! We were about 20 miles off the Whitby coast. We see them in the summer some seasons, but we don't see many. This last month there have been a couple of sightings in that area. We had only been fishing about 15 minutes when we got it on."

"We knew it was a shark, it was very exciting. I don't suppose many people have a job like mine, I love fishing and get a lot of excitement."

Porbeagles are one of the most common types of shark spotted in UK waters.