TE AWANGA fisherman Ian Chapman was fishing in the Hauraki Gulf, not far from Coromandel Town, when he was greeted by the staring eye of a large mako shark.
In the wake of shark sightings off northern coastlines and the attack by a shark on a lifeguards' inflatable rescue boat at Omaha, this sight would send many anglers and swimmers hurrying for shore. But not the Hawke's Bay man.
Mr Chapman was fishing from his 5m boat, with one other occupant on January 2 while holidaying in the Coromandel. He turned to see a 5m shark, the same size as the boat, about 8m away.
It cruised on past them just looking at the fishermen.
"He swam past, did a circle around the boat and then just carried on," he said.
They were only about 1km from the shore when the shark sighting occurred.
While they watched the shark intently, they carried on fishing and were not too nervous about the encounter.
"He was in the water and I was in the boat," Mr Chapman said.
The shark wasn't feeding at the time and showed no signs of being aggressive. On his return to shore, Mr Chapman looked through many fishing books to see if he could identify the shark.
He wasn't sure it was a mako due to its colouring, but it had been tagged and only mako sharks are tagged by fisherman.
Mr Chapman is a keen fisherman and spends a lot of time fishing in Hawke's Bay, but has yet to encounter a shark as large as that in local waters.
- Have you spied a shark this summer or had a close encounter? Tell the chief reporter. Call 8730810. * More sharks spotted in Hawke Bay - Page 5