An Auckland family had a toothy fin-ish to their long weekend after catching not one but two hammerhead sharks in the Hauraki Gulf.
John Laurie, his wife, and their son Nathan were fishing in the gulf yesterday morning when they came across baby smooth hammerhead sharks at four different locations.
"We had hardly stopped in the first place and a baby hammerhead shark, about 70cm, drifted by," he said.
"Not long after that we caught one - as in the photo of our profoundly deaf son Nathan aged 34.
"Then at the next spot we caught another and yet another one chased up a bit of bait we pulled in. All of these were returned to the water."
Laurie told the Herald the family was staggered to see the sharks because they had not seen them before.
"I tell you what, it was very strong and active. We could hardly grab on to it as it was very keen to get away, which eventually it did," he said.
"My son had never experienced the feel of the skin of a shark. It is quite unusual. The best way to describe it is directional sandpaper because if you go from head to tail, it is relatively smooth, but if you go in the other direction it is quite sandpaper like and rough."
He was also surprised at the sharpness of their teeth.
"They were shark like, and quite tiny obviously because they were small, but clearly if they were full grown those teeth would be pretty vicious."
After another sighting of smooth hammerhead sharks at Great Barrier Island last week, Department of Conservation shark scientist Clinton Duffy said it was not uncommon to see schools of baby hammerheads in the area.
"The Hauraki Gulf and the Firth of Thames are one of the largest hammerhead nursery grounds in New Zealand that we know of," he said.
"The west coast of the North Island, the Hauraki Gulf and parts of the western and eastern Bay of Plenty are the hotspots for baby hammerheads"
He said the juvenile sharks posed no risk.