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Fisherman toys with playful predator
Fisherman toys with playful predator

A fisherman who encountered a great white shark in Cockburn Sound at the weekend has described the creature as "playful and curious".

Mathew Hurley, 23, was fishing with two friends at the D9 sunken barge about 3km offshore on Saturday afternoon when fellow fishermen alerted each other to the 3m shark's presence.

Mr Hurley said the shark began taking the bait off fishing lines around the area before sniffing out the group's bait bag which was floating beside his 6m runabout.

He said he was not threatened by the shark because "it looked like it had a little belly" and even worked up courage to stroke it when it came to the boat.

The men tied a snapper left over from their previous weekend's fishing expedition to a rope to entice the shark back when it started losing interest.

"We were throwing the rope up for about five to 10 minutes and then it came back around and that's when we started playing with it and touching it," Mr Hurley said.

"It wasn't vicious, it was full - it had eaten its fair share of food. It was just curious, it wasn't distressed or anything."The fisherman dropped his underwater camera into the ocean to capture several minutes of the encounter."It was just cool, really cool, it was the first time I'd really seen one and touched one," he said. "I don't know how many people around the world would have touched one."Mr Hurley said the shark bit the boat's motor but did not appear to have caused much damage."(The sharks) are really curious, after the weekend I'm more relaxed about them," he said.