A group of people fishing on a Coromandel charter got more than they bargained for when a large Mako shark jumped in their boat giving them a once-in-a-lifetime experience as well as an almighty fright.
On Saturday Churchys Charter NZ skipper Ryan Churches was out off the coast of Whitianga with five customers on the hunt for kingfish.
However, something a lot larger had decided to not only make an appearance but spectacularly drop into their boat after being hooked on the bait.
The wild event was caught on camera, showing the large sea creature crash-landing on the bow of the boat before thrashing around and slamming its tail into the windscreen.
Churches told the Herald it was the first time he’s ever witnessed a shark jumping into a boat, describing the incident as “bonkers”.
“We were out at the Aldermans fishing with five customers on board winding a bait in and the mako took the bait.
“We were fighting it normally and it was jumping around. I told the customers ‘if it jumps in the boat get out of the way’.
“It just so happened that about 30 seconds later it jumped on the top of the boat. It was crazy. We were all watching the rod and the line was going out to the side of the boat and it changed direction suddenly... it just happened to jump at the same time and we got a hell of a fright.”
The Churchys Charters NZ skipper estimated the Mako was about 150kg and as long as eight to nine feet in length.
After crash landing on the boat, the Mako was thrashing around trying to escape for a maximum of “two-minutes tops”.
Churches said there were concerns they would have to intervene and attempt to help the shark free, a move that would have been highly dangerous.
However, he said the shark managed to wriggle free and were counting their blessings he didn’t land on the back of the boat where all the customers were.
“He got away safe. There’s nothing much we could do. We can’t go up the front to go near it because they go absolutely bonkers.
“We dropped the anchor down a little bit because it seemed to be holding it in place [on the boat]. He went absolutely bonkers again and pushed himself through the bow rail and slid back into the water.
“I was trying to figure out ways of how to get it off if it didn’t slide off. I was thinking what the f*** do we do? But it all worked out.
“The customers reacted better than what a lot of people would have. The cameras were out, but they probably didn’t realise the danger we could have been in.
“We were lucky it was on the front of the boat and we had windscreens and hard tops blocking it. We were lucky it didn’t come into the back of the boat otherwise it could have a wildly different story.”
An average adult Mako is around 2.5 to 3.2 m (8.2 to 10.5 ft) in length and can weigh on average between 135–230 kg.
Mako sharks live near the surface of the ocean and in coastal waters, and are found around the coast of New Zealand, more commonly in the North Island.
They are known for jumping clear of the water when hooked, sometimes as much as 10m - and have been reported to land in boats.
It’s not the first time a Mako has landed on a boat in the Coromandel.
In 2021, Whangamatā fishing buddies Kane O’Reilly and Murray Clarke counted their lucky stars after they hooked a massive mako shark that jumped out of the water and landed on the roof of their boat.
“I was winding it in and it got heavier and heavier,” O’Reilly said.
He said the shark bolted down on a heavy drag, turned round and headed straight to the boat, flying about 5m out of the water six to seven metres away.
“The shark hit the water, did another massive jump and landed about 1m off the boat, which scared the shit out of us.
A minute or so later, the shark broke off the fishing hook and disappeared.
O’Reilly estimated the shark was about 4m long when it came crashing on to his 7.6m aluminium hardtop Marco southwester called Black Betty.
“It would have been 400kg. It was massive, absolutely massive.
“I told my mate to gas the boat to get out of here because I said it is going to jump in the cockpit,” O’Reilly said.
“The next thing I felt this massive bang like we had just run into a ship and I said to my mate ‘what the hell was that’ and this bloody shark rolled off the roof and down the windscreen and on to the deck and then rolled off,” O’Reilly said.
“If it had landed in the cockpit I don’t think we would be here to tell the tale,” O’Reilly said.