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PHOTOS: North Devon grandfather hauls in huge shark

By This is NorthDevon  |  Posted: April 25, 2013

  • North Devon fisherman Zyg Gregorek wrestles with the giant 1/2 ton Greenland shark in the Arctic circle

  • North Devon fisherman Zyg Gregorek hauled the giant 1/2 ton Greenland shark in the Arctic circle

  • North Devon fisherman Zyg Gregorek wrestles with the giant 1/2 ton Greenland shark in the Arctic circle

  • North Devon fisherman Zyg Gregorek wrestles with the giant 1/2 ton Greenland shark in the Arctic circle

  • North Devon fisherman Zyg Gregorek in the Arctic circle

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This is the moment a North Devon grandfather hailed "the world's greatest fisherman" wrestled with a half-tonne shark - at the age of 70.

Sprightly Zyg Gregorek, of Halwill, spent nearly an hour battling with the Greenland shark - which are bigger than Great Whites and normally eat polar bears.

Zyg caught the 1,080lbs fish - which could be up to 100 years old - on a line using mackerel bait and fought to bring it to the surface of the ocean.

During his epic battle his chair collapsed underneath him and his flimsy fishing boat nearly flipped on its side.

The only thing which stopped the feisty pensioner being pulled into the sea by the 13ft shark - which weighs the same as a small car - was a protective harness.

Zyg caught the massive shark while on a five day fishing expedition off Norway's Andorja Island in the Arctic Circle.

In 2007, Zyg was declared the world's greatest fisherman and his latest catch means he is the first recreational angler in history to catch five different species over 1000lbs.

Hardy Zyg says the only thing that he found difficult about wrestling with the giant sea killer was dealing with his dodgy knee - and "the bloody cold".

He said: "I feared my knee replacement was going to give out or the boat was going to flip - but the adrenaline kept me going.

"When you're out there on the water you don't have time to get scared - it's man versus monster and neither wants to give an inch.

"That particular fish could have been 100 years old - even older than me. There are very few caught for several reasons.

"It takes you 20 minutes just to wind in the bait and the hooks from the bottom so it's very tiring.

"Secondly it's bloody cold. Thirdly, they move by smell and go very slowly so you can go days on end without getting anything.

"Luckily I had a good skipper who spoke good English and he has caught half a dozen over the years. The boat was a small one, about 20ft or so, and rather primitive.

"I finally felt the rod twitching, I could tell from the weight it was a Greenland shark. I nearly injured myself as the chair collapsed under me.

"They strapped me to the boat and the harness was digging into my kidneys but I just stuck it out.

"It took 59 minutes to pull it to the surface and it felt like I was reeling in a car or a small tank."

Greenland sharks can swim 600m under ice, grow up to 23ft and are so fearsome they are known to eat polar bears.

As Zyg clung on to the shark the boat's skipper verified the gargantuan catch and wrapped a rope around it to measure its weight and girth.

The mighty fish's dimensions were then used to calculate its weight - 1,080lbs - before the crew let it go.

Zyg, a grandfather-of-three, who lives with wife Rose, 63, at his Anglers Paradise holiday fishing complex, said: '"I've always believed in doing what you can, while you still can.

"I love my fishing and while I've still got my upper body strength I will endeavour to travel the world and break more records."

The feat is just one of dozens set by the iron-willed seafarer, who has spent decades chasing fish across the globe in a bid to smash every record.

In 2007 he became the first person to catch all 27 species in the three so-called "royal slams" set by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).

He travelled 150,000 miles to some of the world's most remote locations to snare nine species of shark, ten species of billfish and eight species of tuna.

His latest quest to become the first to snare five species of fish over 1,000lbs began in 2000 when he caught a 1300lbs Great White in Struis Bay off South Africa.

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2 comments

  • Stork  |  April 26 2013, 6:39PM

    He should have had a bigger boat! Hasn't he seen that famous moment in " Jaws" ?

    |   3
  • Jonny38  |  April 25 2013, 2:36PM

    so glad they let it go lol :)

    |   1

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