Angler’s massive catch (and release)

Shavin Smith with the dusky shark he caught on Saturday. Picture: Supplied

Shavin Smith with the dusky shark he caught on Saturday. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 20, 2024


Every year the Sardine Run attracts hosts of people ‒ and other sea creatures.

While everyone was excited to collect sardines, one fisherman caught something out of the ordinary.

Shavin Smith travelled from Malvern to Margate and ended up doing battle with a 400kg, 2.98m female grey shark, also known as a dusky.

When he and his friends learned sardines had been netted in Margate, they knew game fish would be following.

They met his dad, Vincent, at the beach at night “because we know that’s when all the big sharks start lurking around and cast a few lines“. He said they noticed it was quiet, a sign there “was something big in the water”.

“I did expect to catch a shark but I didn’t expect it to be so big. Once I hooked it, I could tell it was a monster; previously I have caught sharks in the 100kg-250kg mark.”

He and the giant fish fought for an hour before Smith landed it.

“The grey shark is found across our coastline, but not that size. Those big ones usually travel from Transkei following the sardines on their way to Durban. I believe that’s the biggest one to be caught in Durban yet.

“It was difficult because it was so big it pulled me down the shore quite a few times. It was even more difficult to bring it to land: four guys had to put a rope around the tail to pull it up onto the shore. We kept it partially in the water for its safety. We always make sure there’s water flowing into and through the gills.

“When the shark landed it was tired and seemed to be full of sardines ‒ its belly was fat and round,” he said.

“Once the fish was on shore I was extremely excited and overjoyed seeing this huge monster shark. This is a big achievement in any angler's life, after one hour of fighting and successfully landing the shark. It felt like the best day of my life.

“After a quick measurement, my friends and I waited for the water and pulled the shark back, using the water to turn it to face the ocean. She gave a huge kick and was off in the dark blue. Catching and safely releasing is very important,” Smith said.

Smith said he started fishing at a young age because of his dad.

“My dad took me fishing from the time I was very young and I fell in love with the sport. I stopped fishing for years because of work and just started again recently, but this time I fell in love with game fishing for my personal enjoyment and satisfaction.

“The thrill is hooking something big, the adrenalin that comes with pulling in a big shark that almost pulls you into the water.”

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