Fisherman hauls record-breaking 15ft shark in two hour battle

Wayne Comben was left with heavy bruising after the shark's tail fin slapped his shoulder

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A fisherman has reeled in a record-breaking thresher shark - but was injured by its thrashing tail after a two hour battle with the creature.

The giant fish was caught in the same British waters where a series of great white sightings sparked terror.

See also: Great white shark 'hunting off Britain's shores'

See also: 'We survived shark attacks': Incredible stories of bravery

Wayne Comben caught the 15ft long thresher shark three miles south of the Isle of Wight after a titanic two hour struggle on Saturday during which he was injured by the predator's long tail.

The huge fish was reeled in alongside Wayne's 17ft long boat - aptly named the Thresher - which was barely longer than the predator.

Credits: GraemePullen/BNPS

The shark was released back into the water

Credits: GraemePullen/BNPS

The enormous 15ft shark

Using a tried and tested method of measuring its length and girth, Wayne believes the thresher weighed 350lbs, making is 27lbs heavier than the existing British record.

Two weeks ago off the south coast a great white shark was spotted several times in the vicinity of nearby Hayling Island, Hants.

The thresher shark was photographed by Wayne's fisherman friend Graeme Pullen and then released back into the water, safe and well.

But as it swam away its tail fin slapped Wayne across the left shoulder causing him heavy bruising.

Credits: GraemePullen/BNPS

The Thresher shark bruised Wayne's shoulder as it was released

Credits: GraemePullen/BNPS

The Thresher shark is very powerful

Thresher sharks are not normally harmful to humans, although they can cause serious injury with their thrashing tails that they use to stun prey in the sea.

Father-of-one Wayne, 50, of Havant, Hants, said: "Threshers are very dangerous and powerful. If you get it wrong you'll end up over the side of the boat.

"They have a huge fin which can cause a lot of damage and very sharp teeth.

"It took me two hours to get the shark to the side of the boat as he made countless runs for it.

"It was an immense, very powerful creature - 350lb of solid muscle.

Credits: GraemePullen/BNPS

Wayne reels in the creature

"When I released it it slapped me with his fin and gave me a big bruise on my left shoulder. I'm fortunate it was not a full on slap because I would have been knocked unconscious.

"There's something quite thrilling about catching a Thresher. I guess it's the sense of danger."

Thresher sharks are relatively-rare visitors to UK and are usually found in the warmer waters of the mid-Atlantic.

But it is said that more of them are being attracted to British waters in the summer months due to climate change.

As a case in point, this was the fourth thresher shark Wayne, a water engineer, has caught on his last four fishing outings with other catches including a 300lb whooper.

Man hauls record-breaking shark

Wayne Comben and his catch (Image: BNPS.co.uk)

Graeme, organiser of Youtube's Totally Awesome Fishing Show, said: "The threshers are everywhere this summer but nobody seems to know why so many sharks are about.

"A lot of the sightings are from jumping fish, as they breach in pursuit of their prey, and even the commercial bass fishermen are seeing threshers busting their gear.

"With warm weather continuing, we all wonder what other species of sharks are heading towards our beaches.

Credits: Daily Mirror

The shark was captured off the coast of the Isle of Wight

Credits: Getty Images

A thresher shark (file picture)

"Everything seems to be running a month late from bait fish like mackerel, to the blue sharks that move close to our shores around the end of July.

"Maybe the warmer air temperatures coupled to the arrival of all these thresher sharks will create the perfect storm of sharks with multiple species of sharks turning up at the same time, perhaps coming into our waters all in one rush.

"With all the shark species competing for dwindling food sources there is going to be some competition amongst them, so expect to see more shark fins this summer."

Wayne's catch beat the previous British record of 323lbs which was caught off the coast of Portsmouth in 1982.

However it is only an unofficial British record as it was released and not killed and weighed on land.

The biggest thresher shark caught in the world on rod and line is one that weighed 767lbs off New Zealand in 1983.

The thresher shark is an endangered species which is on the Red List of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) List of Threatened Species.

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