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Pensioner lands 'monster' on rod and line

Joe Waldis (70) with his record catch
Joe Waldis (70) with his record catch
Joe Waldis (70) with his record catch

B Gordon Deegan

It's a twist on the Hemingway classic ‘The Old Man and the Sea'. A pensioner has landed the largest ever fish caught on a rod and line in Irish and British waters off the Co Clare coast.





Ernest Hemingway's 1952 novella tells the story of an ageing Cuban fisherman who spends days landing a giant marlin after an epic battle.

Swiss man Joe Waldis (70) yesterday described his own feat as “the fight of my life” after landing a sixgill shark weighing 480kg. The shark’s liver alone weighed 143kg.

“I still can't believe it. When I go to sleep at night, I still can't believe it. It was the fight of my life.”

More accustomed to fishing for pollock, Mr Waldis described the 12ft 9in shark as “a monster”.

Mr Waldis said that for 35 minutes he had been struggling with the shark, which first got hooked on his line with mackerel bait 60m below in a stretch of sea north of Loop Head on |Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Waldis said: “I didn't know what I was dealing with until the shark came to the surface. It is like getting all your numbers in the Lotto to get a fish like this.

“I could be going to the same place a hundred times and never land a fish like this. Other fishermen can only dream of this.”

Owner of the Clare Dragoon charter boat, Luke Aston, of the Carrigaholt Sea Angling Centre, said: “It's unbelievable. We knew that Joe had hooked on to something big and we strapped him in and the fight was on.”

The shark was too big to haul up into the boat and it was towed by the Clare Dragoon into Carrigaholt.

It then had to be transported by forklift to a local quarry to be weighed on the quarry's weighbridge.

He said: “It came in at 480 kilos or 1,056 lbs — the biggest ever fish caught by a rod and line in the British Isles. Joe is a very fit 70-year-old. The previous record was for a blue fin tuna that weighed 999lbs.”

Mr Aston said his boat caught a similar size sixgill shark last year, but it was was returned to the ocean.

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