Cool! A Mako shark jumped on our fishing boat. We’re getting great video! Look at that!
Except, what do we do now?
If a mako shark measuring roughly 9 feet with razor-sharp teeth lands on your boat, you don’t push him off the side.
At least, not if you want to remain in one piece.
The charter fishing craft had five passengers when one of them hooked the shark. “We were fighting it normally and it was jumping around,” Churches said. “I told the customers ‘if it jumps in the boat get out of the way.’”
“It just so happened that about 30 seconds later it jumped on the top of the boat,” he said. “It was crazy.
“We were all watching the rod and the line was going out to the side of the boat and it changed direction suddenly… it just happened to jump at the same time and we got a hell of a fright.”
After landing on the bow of the boat, the shark thrashed about for about two minutes, according to Churches.
There was the thought of intervening to help the shark, but how?
“He got away safe,” Churches said. “There’s nothing much we could do. We can’t go up the front to go near it because they go absolutely bonkers.
“We dropped the anchor down a little bit because it seemed to be holding it in place [on the boat]. He went absolutely bonkers again and pushed himself through the bow rail and slid back into the water.
“I was trying to figure out ways of how to get it off if it didn’t slide off. I was thinking what the f*** do we do? But it all worked out.
“The customers reacted better than what a lot of people would have. The cameras were out, but they probably didn’t realize the danger we could have been in.
“We were lucky it was on the front of the boat and we had windscreens and hard tops blocking it. We were lucky it didn’t come into the back of the boat otherwise it could have a wildly different story.”
No one was hurt, including the shark, and everyone on Churches’ boat came away with a great story to tell. And video, too, which has gone viral.
Mako sharks tend to live in shallow and coastal waters and are commonly found around New Zealand’s North Island.
Another Mako shark came aboard a boat in 2021. Kane O’Reilly and Murray Clarke were fishing when the shark got hooked.
The shark raced toward the boat, jumping in and out of the water until a final jump placed it on the roof of their craft.
The shark then got loose from the fishing hook and left.
“If it had landed in the cockpit, I don’t think we would be here to tell the tale,” O’Reilly said.