FOR a group of south-west fishermen it was a Good Friday indeed, with the trip ending with the netting a blue shark near Port Fairy weighing over 100 kilograms.
Geelong's Dan Whitehead seized the public holiday to go fishing with mates.
They left with three boats around 3am and arrived at Port Fairy by first light.
"It was a spur of the moment decision to head to Port Fairy on Good Friday," he said.
"My parents being locals from Hawkesdale way, and me being Geelong-based, I originally planned to take the old boy out but he had to work. With such good weather I wanted to make the most of it.
"I worded up a few mates and we ended up getting groups geared up the night before.
"We got on the water at first light and shot off to Lady Julia Percy Island.
"We originally had planned to stay together but one of the other boats had come across tuna and stopped to have a crack.
"Once we reached the island there were birds diving in a few different locations so we split up and tried a few different things - stick baits being most productive for the tuna."
The group shot out wide a few kilometres off the shelf, where they quickly struck gold.
"Once we hit the mark we put out a few bottom bashing rigs and a balloon with a whole fresh salmon we had got the day before, then started a berly trail and the wait began," Mr Whitehead said.
"We were in the middle of cooking up a BBQ when I saw a fin out of the corner of my eye.
"It was a blue shark, estimated over the 120 kilogram mark.
"She wasn't shy at all coming up to the berly bags and having a crack at them, then moving on to the engine.
"She was that close that I had actually planned to gaff it but before I could tied it off and gear up she had taken off.
"We tried to tempt it to return but after a few minutes or so we were about to sit down and go back to lunch when I saw my balloon float past, which I though was odd.
"I picked up the rod and started to wind it in, suddenly feeling a lot of weight, I gave it a few yanks to set the hook and as soon as I'd done that the reel screamed off; the shark must have taken the bait and was swimming around the boat until I went to check the bait.
"Once we thought we had got the better of her, I gave a friend the rod and got the flying gaff. As soon as it penetrated we realised she had a fair bit of go left in her; going absolutely berserk she snapped the tip of my game rod.
"Luckily the gaff had stuck, but not wanting to lose her, I leant over the side while she was smashing against the boat and did my best to get a hold of her tail with my hands. It took me a few goes to get a good grip but finally got a tail rope on securely."
Hauling a 100 kilogram-plus shark into the boat proved the most challenging of the endeavour.
"Getting the shark in the boat was probably the worst part, it took a lot out of us, probably could have done with a third man," he said.
"It took three of us to lift her out of the boat after she had been bled and gutted.
"It was definitely a personal best for me, we were over the moon.
"We didn't get back to Geelong until 9.30 that night but was well worth the day trip."
Mr Whitehead got his love of fishing from his dad.
"My old man got me into fishing, I try to get up here when the weather is blowing the right way," he said.
"I don't actually eat fish, it's the thrill of the chase for me.
"I dropped it off at dad's, I don't know if he's had the chance to taste it yet
"The weather was really on our side on Friday."
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