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Four metre shark in Cockburn Sound
A shark nudges a boat in Cockburn Sound. Picture: Brad Harrison

A recreational fisherman has told of how a 3.5 metre great white shark attacked the outboard motor of his boat while he and a friend looked on helplessly in Cockburn Sound this morning.

Brad Harrison, of Melville, said he and his friend, Ben Croft, had been fishing for snapper for about half an hour in an area between the D9 Dredge Wreck and Pinnacle Rocks when the shark approached their four-metre aluminium vessel.

Mr Harrison said they were the only boat for about 100m at the popular fishing spot at the time.

He said the shark had taken chunks out of the motor as it attacked it.

“We’ve got the bait dispenser at the back of the boat that releases the burley into the water, and he was obviously after that,” Mr Harrison said.

“It’s right next door to the engine so he just kept nudging up against the boat and each time his mouth would open he’d clamp down on the engine to try to get to that bait dispenser.

“We felt safe for a little bit until it started pushing itself up against the boat and started having a go at the back of the boat.

“It just kept going in, having a push and a shove and a bite.

“It kept going in again and again as we were trying to get the bait bucket off the back of the boat, hoping that would get rid of it, but it didn’t.

“It looked inquisitive and then it just got agro. We ended up having to get the hell out of there… we didn’t hang around.”

Mr Harrison said the shark hung around in the area after they had left.“You could see the dorsal fin just hanging around where we were,” he said.“I probably won’t go back to that spot again.“I don’t think I was scared but the heart was definitely racing… it’s not something pleasant to see.“They’re beautiful animals but when they start getting agro like that you know what they can do.”The sighting is one of several in WA in the past two days and has prompted a warning from the Department of Fisheries about the dangers of small craft fishing and kayaking.A shark of a similar size was spotted near the D9 Dredge Wreck by a recreational fisher at 4pm and 1pm yesterday.Today, a four-metre shark was been spotted off Margaret River at the Ellensbrook surf break at 7.51am.A five metre shark has also been sighted at Bandy Creek Boat Harbour, Esperance, about 10.43am.Fisheries Department shark response unit manager Mike Burgess said water users in Cockburn and Warnbro, including night fishers of pink snapper and kayakers, should be extra cautious and take into account seasonal factors that could attract sharks.“Large sharks are attracted to the Sounds at this time of year, to feed on schools of spawning snapper and smaller bronze whaler sharks,” he said.