Dorset ‘shark’ almost tipped over my kayak: Fisherman describes his encounter with ‘something big’ that grabbed his reel before lifeguards evacuated swimmers and closed beach
- Darron Tapper, 54, claimed that the shark pulled his fishing rod out of his hands
- He said it almost dragged him under water just off Boscombe beach in Dorset
- Darron returned to the beach to alert lifeguards who also received other reports
- It prompted lifeguards to use a megaphone to evacuate the Bournemouth beach
A fisherman has claimed that a ‘shark’ nearly tipped over his kayak – before it caused the evacuation of a Bournemouth beach.
Darron Tapper, 54, said the shark pulled his fishing rod out of his hands and almost dragged him in with it when it went for the lure on the end of his line just off Boscombe beach in Bournemouth, Dorset.
He saw a large shadow under the surface but was unable to identify the creature – which he thinks may have been a shark due to the sheer power of its bite.
Darron returned to the beach to alert lifeguards who had received two other reports from bathers of what was suspected to be a shark in the water.
The sightings prompted an RNLI lifeguard to use a megaphone to tell everybody to get out of the water in scenes reminiscent of the classic movie Jaws.
They also put up red flags on the beach – the RNLI’s signal to warn swimmers of a serious hazard in the water.
Two lifeguards on jet-skis patrolled the water to search for the ‘large marine life’ but found nothing untoward. The beach was reopened after around an hour.
Darron Tapper, 54, told of his close encounter with the ‘shark’ that caused the evacuation of Boscombe beach in Bournemouth
The RNLI closed the busy Dorset beach on Wednesday after a shark was reportedly spotted in the water
Darren, 54, from Bournemouth, believes he had a lucky escape.
He said: ‘I was pulling a lure back into shore and something grabbed that, I almost turned over in my kayak.
‘I spun around and saw a big shadow.’
The experienced fisherman said he was sure it was not a fish he would expect to catch in the area.
He said: ‘I know what fish are, it was something big.
‘As a fisherman I’ve never heard of a shark in these waters so that was the last thing on my mind.
‘It is very possible (it was a shark) I’m speculating that, I don’t know what else would have the power.
‘If you saw how it took my rod and reel I didn’t stand a chance (if the kayak had gone over). God knows what would have happened, I looked like a seal in my wetsuit.
‘In 13 years I have never ever experienced that, it is a bit of a thrill to think I escaped the clutches.’
He described the scenes as his own ‘Jaws experience’.
He said: ‘I had caught nine fish already and you could tell there was a predator in the water because of how animated the fish were.
‘I started rowing back to the shore but still had my lure out as a fisherman loves one last catch.
‘I was about to reel it in as I was getting to where people were swimming when I heard a bang.
The fisherman described the scenes as his own ‘Jaws experience’ as he relived his encounter
‘The creature had gone for my lure with so much power my kayak spun around.
‘It may have been a tope, a blue or a porbeagle shark.
‘It only lasted a few seconds and I zig-zagged back to shore with a hole in the kayak.
‘As I was carrying it from the water the lifeguards were running the other way.
‘One lifeguard with a big megaphone was shouting people to get out the way and announced ‘get out of the water’.
‘It was like something out of the film Jaws and I had my own Jaws experience.’
Mark Hind, a shark expert and curator at the SeaLife Centre in Loch Lomond in Scotland, said the big sea creature was probably a large tope shark that would have been enough to give anyone a fright.
He said there was also a possibility it could have been a porbeagle shark which is a relative if the great white.
Mr Hind said: ‘We have lots of sharks in our waters, they can bite but they are not man-eaters.
‘Porbeagle and blue sharks are usually found way off shore and it is rare for them to come in close but it is possible that it could have been a porbeagle drifting in close chasing mackerel.
‘You get a lot of tope in the water off the south coast and they can come in close. It could have been a very rare tope.
‘If you see one in the water it is going to give you a fright.’
Mr Hind said he doubts it was a basking shark as they are so big that people would have been able to identify it.
RNLI lifeguards put up red flags, the signal to warn swimmers of a serious hazard in the water and put out a tannoy announcement telling people to get out of the sea, and searched the water on jet skis
Lifeguards on jet skis then spent 20 minutes searching the water off Boscombe beach in Bournemouth after three reports of some kind of ‘large marine life’ under the water, an RNLI spokesman said
Meanwhile another marine wildlife expert accused the RNLI over over-reacting by evacuating the beach.
Steve Trewhella said: ‘It is absolutely possible that it could have been a thresher or porbeagle shark chasing food inshore. Had it been a seal or a dolphin it probably would have resurfaced again.
‘But why close the beach? We aren’t in Australia, this is Boscombe. No-one has ever been attacked or killed by a shark in the UK before. It was a complete overreaction.’
A spokesman for the RNLI said: ‘On Wednesday 4 August, RNLI lifeguards received reports of a large marine animal in the sea near Boscombe Beach, Dorset.
‘As a precautionary measure, lifeguards asked beach visitors to evacuate the water and put up red flags.
‘Lifeguards used their Rescue Watercraft (RWC) to scan the area and visitors were able to go back into the water half an hour later.
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