A shark attacked a snapper and bit off part of its body as it was being reeled in by an angler - but left enough on the hook for the fisher to win her contest.

It might sound like a fisherman's tale, but the only tail being stretched was the one caught between the angler's hook and shark at the other end.

The amazing story of a fishing trip by Kawau Island resident Tania Rogers, 46, still has locals agog weeks later.

The fish's head and what was left of its body at the end of her line won the Hauraki Gulf island's monthly club contest.

The saga began with Rogers' determination to test out her new fishing rod, designed to make the most out of the new soft plastic bait fishing craze.

John Laurie was looking for a fishing partner and contacted Rogers. "On the way out he said to me 'you know you were my last resort'," she said.

The pair were drift fishing and pulled in a couple of good snapper, weighing about 5kg.

Then, on her 4-8kg line with a Tiger Lilly Glows soft plastic bait, Rogers felt a more serious strike. "Bang, my rod just went over," she said.

The fight was 20 minutes in with about 80m of line out when she noticed a change. "It's swimming toward me," she told Laurie. "Then the shark came up and took a massive bite."

The shark attack happened beneath the surface and left plenty of line to still be wound in. When the fish came alongside Laurie's boat Moana, they saw what had happened.

"The roe was still intact. It was as big as my arm. I shared the roe at the book club Christmas meeting. We had it with crackers," said Rogers.

She got her soft plastic bait back, prising it out of the jaw bone, and found a weed-encrusted hook already embedded. There was also the snapper's last meal - it had the tail of another fish protruding between its teeth, jaws still chewing out of reflex.

"If I'd surfaced the fish and it was alive, I don't think I would have taken it out of the ocean," she said.

When Moana moored at Kawau Island, Laurie arranged for fishing club members to weigh the fish. The remains of the fish alone weighed almost 9kg - short by about half its weight, by Laurie's guess.

"It was such a phenomenal fish that it deserved to be recognised. It was the heaviest fish caught for the month."

Rogers' name now adorns the board with the epitaph: "Two-thirds of a snapper - Jaws got the rest."

For Rogers, whose nickname was already Jaws, perhaps because she likes telling a tale, it has created a great final line for the fishy tale.

"They say out here 'the fish had no chance with Jaws above and Jaws underneath' - so it went for the one who wasn't talking as much," she said.