Campbell Carter says a shark twice his size is harmless once you've grabbed it by its tail.
Most beach-goers wouldn't be getting themselves so close to a bronze whaler. In fact - one would hope - most would run or swim the other way.
But yesterday, Mr Carter helped his flatmate, Caleb Oakes, to reel in a 2m bronze whaler at Papamoa Beach.
"It's just a bit of a thrill. It's different," said Mr Carter. "Fishing is my passion."
He called it a warm-up for the game fishing season, and said he had done it a few times before.
But he was not about to recommend it to other people, especially if they were not experienced.
"They'll nip you if you don't know what you're doing," he said.
"But once you're able to grab them by the tail they're usually fine."
Mr Carter said several sharks were cruising up and down the coastline from Mt Maunganui to Papamoa yesterday, as they always did during the summer.
So he and Mr Oakes waded waist-deep into water and cast a line.
"It bit straight away," Mr Carter said.
They had deliberately walked to the far end of the beach to get away from people who could have got frightened. He did not want too many kids around to shock ahead of Christmas, he said.
The shark, about 140kg to 150kg, ran "pretty hard" as it was reeled in around 1.30pm, before ending up on a sand bar.
Mr Carter tended to it, cutting the line - while fending off a drunk beach-goer getting too close and causing trouble - and eventually released the shark back into the sea.
He said he was not too concerned about bumping into the shark again back in the water, where Mr Carter spends a lot of time.
"He would be pretty happy you've released it," he said.
"There's no harm to the fish at all. It's just sport."
Later in the day, a 2m shark was found washed up dead on Mt Maunganui Beach near Leisure Island. It was not clear whether it was the bronze whaler caught earlier in the day.
- NZ Herald staff