A kayak fisherman from Sweden shattered the kayak fishing record for heaviest catch by reeling in a Greenland shark weighing an estimated 1,247 pounds, according to Kayak Fish Magazine. The fish, estimated to be 200 years old, was released alive and healthy after the 90-minute battle.
Joel Abrahamsson was fishing less than a mile off Andörja Island, Norway, in 1,600 feet of water when he caught what is considered an unofficial record since kayak fishing records are loosely kept and estimated weights are often used.
The previous unofficial record was a 400-pound salmon shark caught and released in Alaska in 2008. The heaviest kayak-caught fish to make it to a certified scale was a 225-pound blue marlin caught by Andy Cho in Hawaii.
The following one-minute video of Abrahamsson's kayak fishing record was posted at SVT.se, but the full video will eventually be published on YouTube.
The estimated weight of the Greenland shark caught by Abrahamsson was determined by a formula using its length of 13.2 feet and girth of 6.6 feet, taken by marine scientists from Havfiskeinstitut Norge that accompanied the kayak fisherman in a separate boat.
"My catch was a part of a research program to study the sharks," Abrahamsson told Kayak Fish Magazine. "It has been prohibited to fish for 40 years commercially, but it is allowed with a rod.
"There are only about 10 to 15 Greenland sharks being caught every year in all of Scandinavia, so it is a rare species."
Abrahamsson was fishing a 1,600-foot hole known for having the world's biggest population of Greenland sharks. Fishing for them is a challenge, and fishing from a kayak makes it all the more challenging.
Abrahamsson told Kayak Fish Magazine that it takes 25 minutes to drop a bait down to avoid tangling the line. Then it takes 20 minutes to wind up the rig to check the bait, and this is done every two to three hours.
"The fish is not a spectacular fighter, but it is a fish that constantly tugs its head down and keeps slowly pulling, making it impossible to ever stop winding," he said. "So I put the reel in low gear and just grind the fish upwards.
"The fight was just [grueling] and extremely heavy. A few times it got a bit gnarly. I was scared of going over."
The shark researchers and Abrahamsson agreed beforehand that reeling the Greenland shark up to the leader would be considered a catch. At that point, the boat crew took over.
"We had a time limit of under five minutes to get it back unharmed being such a unique fish, so I was not allowed to handle it or secure it to my kayak," he told Kayak Fish Magazine.
It is interesting to note that the Greenland shark is thought to be the longest-living vertebrate on the planet, hence the age estimate put on this shark.
So, what's next for Abrahamsson? His dream is to catch a 225-pound Atlantic halibut from a kayak.
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