Wales

Angler George Woodward, 70, lands shark off Milford Haven

  • 26 June 2014
  • From the section Wales
George Woodward with the shark
Image caption George Woodward said it was a boyhood dream to catch a shark

A 70-year-old angler who suffers from seasickness has landed what could be the largest shark caught in Welsh waters.

The porbeagle shark weighing about 300lbs (136kg) was caught by George Woodward off the Pembrokeshire coast.

It was so big it took almost two hours to pull in before being released back into the sea.

Mr Woodward, of Herefordshire, said he was exhausted at the end but it had been a long-held ambition.

"Everyone has a boyhood dream," he said. "When I was a little kid of about four-and-a-half I thought I wouldn't mind shark fishing."

But his ambition always looked likely to be thwarted because he felt sick whenever he set foot in a boat.

Luckily his fishing trip from Milford Haven took place in particularly calm waters - and it would become memorable for other reasons.

"I was beginning to realise there was something a bit serious on the end (of the line)," he said.

"There was a big oil tanker near us and I thought it could be caught on that!

"We got it closer to the boat and an hour-and-a-half had gone. It was something out of the ordinary.

Something special

"I was beginning to think I wished it would fall off because I was in a bit of pain."

But with the help of his fellow anglers and boat skipper Andrew Alsop, the shark was eventually wrestled on to the boat.

And those on board knew it was something special.

"They measured it and they were saying it was close to or over the Welsh record," he said.

Professional angler Martin Bowler, who organised the trip and helped land the catch, said he was aware of Mr Woodward's dream of catching a shark.

"I said to him 'come on George, I will help you get a shark'," he said.

He said the largest shark previously caught off the Welsh coast was about 296lbs (134kg).

Mr Alsop, who runs angling trips off Milford Haven, said he was now waiting to hear if the shark would enter the record books.

He added: "Back in the early days no-one would have thought of catching sharks off Milford Haven.

"It's definitely on the map now for shark fishing. We catch and release them - people come from all over the world to come to try and catch sharks."

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