• Hawke's Bay fishermen have "unreal" encounter with Great White Shark

Hawke's Bay fishermen have "unreal" encounter with Great White Shark

Jonathan Joe has seen a fair few sharks in his lifetime but has never managed to have an encounter with a Great White. But he never expected he would see one in his backyard. 

He and his uncle Alan Young were out fishing near Waipatiki, Napier this morning when one decided to spend 20 minutes circling their boat. 

"We left Napier about 8.30am, moseyed along out to Waipatiki for a little quiet fish and about 11am I was on my phone talking to my friend about just catching fish and life and I looked up and my uncle's boat is quite low to the water and I saw this huge shadow in the water," Jonathan said. 

Video/Jonathan Joe.

He quickly hung up on his friend and started videoing the shark. "We had some Kawaii onboard and some bait and we tried feeding it but it wasn't really that interested." However, it did unsuccessfully try to take the Gurnard they had just caught. 

"It was unreal to see such an amazing fish so close up," Jonathan said. "It wasn't aggressive, we got a feed of fish, had a great day with my uncle and had a cool experience." After about 20 minutes, he says it just left. 

Video/Jonathan Joe.

He says it was at least three metres, and about a metre wide. How wide it was, how big its gills were, and its white belly indicated to them that it was a Great White. 

"I fish and dive in that area a lot. I've spent a lot of time in the sea diving all around New Zealand and around the world but this is the first time I've had a great white. I have a lot of fishing friends and I don't know any of them that have caught or seen one.

"Really I did not expect to see it - no way. It blew my mind." 

While he was keen to get into the water, his uncle was a bit more apprehensive. "It would have been cool to touch it and be in the water with it for a short time. But it's not over yet."

Alan, who is also a keen fisherman, says it was "scary at first". "It was such a big shark." 

"It was unusual, we have never seen a shark like that before. Everyone says it was a great white. Looking at it we can't figure out any other shark. It's not a mako, it's not a blue shark or any other local shark that we normally see."

While he has heard of sightings elsewhere, has never heard of one in Hawke's Bay. "For us to get a photo and video of it, I think we are quite lucky."