A bull shark tore Lake fishermen's sea anchor 'to shreds'

SHAKING: Jake Blackburn with the torn sea anchor, with fellow fisher Norbert Willis. Picture: Peter Stoop
SHAKING: Jake Blackburn with the torn sea anchor, with fellow fisher Norbert Willis. Picture: Peter Stoop

 A CHILLING encounter with an ‘‘aggressive’’ two-and-a-half metre long bull shark has left a 21-year-old Lake Macquarie man shaken, and concerned for the safety of swimmers as the weather heats up. 

Jake Blackburn was fishing with his girlfriend’s father, Norbert Willis, near Bolton Point on Saturday when the two men got a close up glimpse of   ‘‘an angry bull shark’’.

A regular fisher, Mr Blackburn said neither man was paying attention to  the water when their 4.75 metre Bluefin dinghy suddenly started jolting.

‘‘I’d just pulled in a flathead [and] when we looked up and there was this big tail out of the water thrashing around,’’ he said.

The shark had tangled itself in the cord of the boat’s sea anchor at such a speed that, Mr Blackburn said, it pulled the boat along  for a few seconds.

‘‘It got tangled and sort of did a death roll thing and flipped its tail up in the air,’’ he said.

‘‘It was tearing the sea anchor to shreds.’’

After it freed itself Mr Willis instinctively pulled the anchor in, and the shark swam away momentarily before coming back to inspect the boat.

‘‘It disappeared for a second then it came back up and had a look at the motor, then it slowly swam around the side and had a look at us.

‘‘It was  like it was saying ‘why’d you do that to me?’’’

Bull sharks have a reputation for being feisty, and Mr Blackburn said he ‘‘couldn’t believe how aggressive’’ the animal was.

The encounter left the 21-year-old shaken, but he threw his line back out.

‘‘Yeah we kept fishing, we sort of waited a bit and were looking around to see if it’d come back, but it had enough of us,’’ he said.

‘‘The whole thing probably only lasted about two minutes but it felt like a lot longer than that.

‘‘I just thought ‘holy crap’ and the adrenaline kicked in, my legs and knees and arms were all shaking after it.’’

He said the sighting brought home the potential threat to swimmers.

‘‘I go fishing nearly every weekend and I’ve never seen anything like that [but] it’s just a worry that it’s school holidays and people are starting to get out into the water, knowing that that thing’s out there,’’ he said. 

‘‘There are a lot of kids and their family’s out at the moment on the water and it could be potentially dangerous for them.’’ 

Two weeks ago  two fishermen  had a run in with a three metre great white at a spot known as The Barge, about halfway between Coal Point and Belmont.

A few days earlier Paul Wilcox, 50, died at Byron Bay from a shark attack  off the town’s main beach.

Pic by Tom Caska. Shared by Liquify Magazine on Facebook.

Pic by Tom Caska. Shared by Liquify Magazine on Facebook.

THIS picture was taken on the Central Coast on September 17 at Killcare by drone pilot Tom Caska. 

It shows a massive shark following a pod of dolphins right near where people are surfing. They are on 3m long SUP boards, which gives an indication of its size.