Shark tows kayak fisherman out to sea
- 27 September 2011
- From the section Devon
A man fishing from a kayak was towed half a mile out to sea after he hooked a 6ft (1.8m) shark.
Devon vet Rupert Kirkwood, 51, was fishing off Ilfracombe in north Devon when the tope took his mackerel bait.
He said it was "fun" as the shark towed his 16ft (4.8m) plastic kayak away from shore like a scene from the movie Jaws.
The keen conservationist, who wrestled the shark on board without any injuries, took some photos before releasing it back into the water.
Mr Kirkwood, from Holsworthy, had been fishing for about four hours when he caught the tope on 20 September.
He said: "It was wet and miserable and my fingers had gone numb when there were a couple of mighty tugs on the line.
"It screamed away with the line. I was worried it might break the line so I put the rod over the front of the kayak to cushion it.
"It was a rather satisfying Jaws-type of thing."
As the tope started to tire, Mr Kirkwood was able to reel it in.
"Its nose came to within inches of my sensitive parts, but it didn't lunge at me," he said.
He estimated the shark weighed about 65lb (29kg).
Mr Kirkwood, who has paddled his kayak from the Isles of Scilly to the Cornwall coast in the past, has now caught three tope from his kayak.
And he never regrets not being in a bigger boat.
"I spend a lot of time fishing from the kayak," said Mr Kirkwood, who caught his first tope, a smaller fish, the previous week.
"Fright never comes into it. It is more fun," he said.
"It adds an extra dimension to everything I love about the sea."