Angler catches 'beast' porbeagle shark off Welsh coast: 'I've never seen anything that big before'

An angler wrestled with a 324-pound porbeagle shark off the coast of Milford Haven in Wales this week, bringing the "beast" briefly aboard a charter boat before tossing it back into the water. 

Matthew Burrett, who lives in Scotland, caught the creature during his fourth fishing trip with Phatcat Charters in West Wales on Tuesday. The 8-foot shark is believed to be the "biggest of its kind" ever spotted off the coast of Wales, according to ITV.

Charter boat skipper Craig Deans made sure he documented the rare find, taking several pictures of the shark before Burrett safely returned it to sea.

"It gives a positive reflection on catch and release shark fishing in Britain," Deans told Fox News on Thursday.

Shark

Skipper Craig Deans snapped some photos of the rare find before the crew tossed it back into the water.  (Courtesy Craig Deans)

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Porbeagle sharks can weigh up to 300 pounds and grow to roughly 11.5 feet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries (NOAA). They can live up to 65 years.

"Porbeagle sharks are moderately large, spindle-shaped sharks. They are characterized by a cylindrical body, conical head and crescent-shaped tail. A distinctive white patch on the lower trailing edge of the first dorsal fin is used to identify fins in trade," the NOAA describes on its website.

"When I saw the size of it, I was pretty shocked. We didn't really see how big it was until it was brought up alongside the boat."

- Craig Deans

Deans, who has been working for the charter company for nearly 15 years, said it's the biggest porbeagle shark he's ever witnessed.

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"I've never seen anything that big before, although I'm sure there are bigger fish out there. When I saw the size of it, I was pretty shocked. We didn't really see how big it was until it was brought up alongside the boat," Deans told ITV.

Burrett was struggling to lift the creature onto the boat — his equipment repeatedly failing him. Luckily, a big swell helped lift the heavy shark onto the deck, Deans said.

And that wasn't the only creature Burrett caught that day.

"Along with the beast we landed 2 other porbegeals and 2 blues not forgetting several that didn’t hook up. What a fantastic start to our season!" Deans wrote in a Facebook post

Deans emphasized that the company has a strict catch and release policy, and no fish are harmed in the process.

"For anyone concerned, these sharks are extremely well looked after," he added. "The boats that fish for them are purpose-built to make it easy to bring them on board, measure then release them. It all happens very quickly and every shark is released alive."