Man catches enormous bull shark in river where his kids swam


A fisherman in Australia will think twice about allowing his children swim in the Hastings River after catching an enormous, 10-foot bull shark with an estimated weight of 550 pounds.

Denis Rivers was night fishing alone three miles upriver from Port Macquarie when he hooked the massive bull shark using eel for bait.

“When it took the bait I just thought it was an average shark, because that’s what I was after,” Rivers told The Daily Telegraph. “But once I set the hook onto it and it took off I knew it was a big one.

Denis Rivers poses with enormous bull shark he caught in the Hastings River.


“It nearly spooled me four times — it was taking 400 meters [1,300 feet] of line in one run. It took me an hour to get it to the rocks and then I yelled out to a fella who was camping up the road and he came down to try to give me a hand, but we couldn’t budge it.”

Rivers phoned a friend, Howie Griffin, and had him come down and use his vehicle to pull the bull shark up onto a nearby boat ramp, but it was up to Rivers to attach the tow line to the shark’s tail

“It was a bit daunting,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

Rivers handed the rod to his friend and had him pull on the shark as he tail-roped the bull shark from behind “as quick as I could.”

After snapping off some photos, Rivers and the others managed to pull the bull shark back into the water and release it.

“I jumped in with it again and swam it,” he said. “It took a while to get going, but it swam off all good.”

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Rivers wouldn’t reveal the fishing spot where he typically catches bull sharks half this size, but it’s an area frequented by recreationists.

“There are always people up in that spot on jetskis and behind a boat and all that,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “My kids have gone up there pumping yabbies [digging for crayfish] and splashing around in the water too, but they won’t be anymore.”

Bull sharks are known to tolerate freshwater and swim upriver, as some have been spotted 250 miles from sea in the Amazon River in South America, according to the Australian Museum. But they are also known to swim up the Hastings River, too.

The reason this female bull shark might have been heading upriver was to give birth so it could avoid potential predators in the ocean, at least that was Rivers’ best guess.

“She was pretty fat in the belly so I reckon she might have been coming up the river to drop her pups,” he said.

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