The popularity with Americans of big game fishing in New Zealand was fuelled by the extroverted game-fishing writer and novelist Zane Grey. He first visited Northland in 1925, breaking a number of world fishing records. At each significant catch he would trumpet his achievement over a megaphone from his boat, and run up a pennant with the name of the fish. New Zealanders found his self-promoting style excessively flamboyant. Here, he is showing off a mako shark.
This dramatic account of a mako landing in his fishing boat was published in Tales of the Angler’s Eldorado, New Zealand (1926):
‘A mako so huge that he absolutely paralysed me with terror emerged with a roar of water to go high in the air. … He was all white underneath and his huge pectorals stood out four feet on each side of him. I could see the black eyes standing out from the sides of his head. He dropped down on the boat with a sudden crash, almost capsizing the launch. I was thrown from my chair, and, crawling back, I leaped up with difficulty regaining my feet. The launch righted itself, but the mako hung over the stern and covered it completely. … He looked at least seventeen feet long and large around as a hogshead, very dark blue in hue, with the most enormous head I ever saw on a sea monster. His long nose pointed right at me. A peculiar feature of the mako, like that in a thresher shark, is that his eyes stand out prominently from the sides of his head and these were fully as large and round as half a grapefruit. They were intensely black and full of fiendish fire. I knew that mako saw me just as well as I saw him. He opened enormous jaws lined with curved, white fangs. I saw where the big hook had stuck in him, and it seemed to my distorted senses that those jaws could take in a coal scuttle, and at that instant he shut his jaws with a convulsive snap like that made by a two-foot bear trap.’
From Zane Grey, Angler’s Eldorado: Zane Grey in New Zealand. Auckland: Heinemann Reed: 1990, p. 150
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Reference: AAQT 6403,1994
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