A fishing outing turned into a 45-minute struggle with a shark in the surf for six Whitianga men.
One of the group, Dion Clothier, said he paddled a kayak out through the surf of Matarangi Beach, on the Coromandel Peninsula, to drop a baited hook where sharks were known to gather.
"We were going for shark and about 30 minutes later, one took the bait," he said.
From the shore, Luke Saward began to reel in the 2m bronze whaler.
But it put up a dramatic fight.
"At one stage it did a big jump clear out of the water," Mr Clothier said.
"Three of us had to go into the water to pull on the trace and we had to grab its tail to get it in. It looked mean - it was fat but muscles, solid as - we reckon about 120kg."
The group were not tempted to take it home for food.
After taking pictures, they pushed the shark out to sea by its tail.
It swam off to deep water.
"My brother, Sam, then went out on the kayak to drop another line and he saw a fin swimming around it."
Mr Clothier said that although sharks often feed at night, their big catch on Thursday was at 6.30pm while the sun was still out. A friend told him he caught six in one day at Matarangi the week before.