Belfast Telegraph

Angler gets up close and very personal with a gentle giant of deep

BY ALLISON BRAY

An angler got more than he bargained for when he went out fishing for a lightweight tope shark and ended up being "stalked" by a two-ton basking shark.

Graham Smith managed to capture his brush with the massive shark off the coast of Donegal on an underwater video camera. And footage of his close encounter with the second largest fish in the sea has become a YouTube hit.

The 36-year-old married father-of-three, from Culdaff, Co Donegal, was hoping to land a tope shark when he set out at Tullagh Bay in the Inishowen Peninsula during last week's heatwave.

But instead of landing a tope – which typically measure less than two metres and weigh less than a hundred pounds – he encountered a school of basking sharks.

"There were five of them and they were swimming around and they came closer and closer," he said.

"But when I was swapping my position, one of them started following me," he said.

Although the gentle giants are not normally aggressive, he was very wary as the shark swam about two feet away, he added.

"He was so close he was practically touching the camera.

"But I think he was just being friendly," brave Graham added.

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