A couple of fishermen in the Top End have shown off their mega catch after reeling in a mammoth 4.2 metre tiger shark at a wharf in the Northern Territory.
Video shared online shows Alex from NT Shark Wanglers wrestling the monster animal with his rod before eventually pulling it towards him at Stokes Hill Wharf in Darwin.
The animal, which Alex and his mate Anthony named Nemo, took "well over an hour" to hook and reel in, Alex told Yahoo News Australia. "It is very physically demanding,” he said.
But on the same day about two weeks ago, the pair were met with another huge tiger shark they call Clipper — a friendly face they see often. The pair recognise the sharks they catch by their "distinctive features" such as injuries and how they look.
Clipper is missing the top half of her dorsal fin while Nemo earned her name by the large chunk missing from her pectoral fin, Alex explained.
"It's quite clear that another shark has come up to her and actually taken a bite. So we think most likely a bull shark has come up to her and actually taken a large chunk out of her fin," he said.
Fisherman insists he helps not harms the animal
After battling the fishing line for an hour or more, the pair remove their hook and promptly release the sharks back into the water. Alex said they do not harm the animals.
"We do this for fun but at the same time, we try and help these animals as much as possible," Alex explained.
"A lot of the time, we catch these sharks and they're actually covered in other people's fishing line and hooks, and they've gotten tangled up.
"So when we get them, we remove our hook but we'll also hold the shark for as long as we can to get any tangled lines or hooks out."
Alex and Anthony have been catching sharks for two years, and Nemo — shown in the video — was one of the biggest he's seen. But while most people are fans of what they do, there is some criticism online.
"We're very caring of the animals and we have the animals' best interests at heart," Alex said in response to some critics.
"I have seen some guys go out there, catch them, and it's purely for a photo opportunity. More often than not, the shark doesn't make it after they release it because they brought it up on the beach for too long."
Hammerheads 'very sensitive' to being caught
He sees this a lot with hammerhead sharks commonly sighted off the NT coast. "They're very sensitive to being caught. We do not muck around with hammerheads and know they have to stay in the water," he said.
While tiger sharks are "very chilled sharks" according to Alex, he was once slapped "pretty hard across the face" by a tiger shark's tail which caused a minor sting.
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