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Harbour Grace native reels in blue shark

Gord French had quite the surprise when he pulled a five-foot blue shark out of the waters near Harbour Grace.
Gord French had quite the surprise when he pulled a five-foot blue shark out of the waters near Harbour Grace.

HARBOUR GRACE, NL — A blue shark in Harbour Grace waters gave one family a surprise they weren’t expecting.

Gord French, who came home to Harbour Grace for a three-week visit recently, didn’t think he’d get the chance to get out on the water at all during his trip home. Little did he know, he’d not only get out there, but he’d come back to shore with an exciting story to tell.

Gord French Jr. (left) and his father, Gord French Sr., made sure to snap a photo with the hook used to catch the shark, just in case.

French and his father, Gord French Sr., decided to take advantage of the nice weather on Sunday, Sept. 3, and headed out in their boat to try their hand at catching some fish. French, who has lived in Edmonton for several years now, was already excited about the opportunity to spend some quality time on the water. He told The Compass on Thursday it was something he’d been looking forward to during his entire trip, but wasn’t sure if he’d actually get the chance to do so.
[RELATED: Trio tailed by shark near Harbour Grace while cod fishing]

French and his father, who is 87-years-old, had come to an agreement – French Sr. would jig the fish, and French Jr. would pull them in, a practice that French said worked out quite well for the two of them.

After spending some time in the boat, the duo managed to hook onto something that French said felt much heavier than anything else they’d experienced that day.

“It was much heavier, I figured this must have been some size of a fish,” French said with a chuckle. “I spent, I’d say, about four or five minutes trying to pull it in. I couldn’t just pull it in like any normal fish, I had to wrap the line around my hands so it wouldn’t get away. The usual hand over hand technique wasn’t going to work this time.”

Once French managed to bring their catch to the surface, they soon realized that what they had hooked on their line was far from what they were expecting. A blue shark, estimated at around five-feet in length, splashed around at the end of French’s line.

“It was unbelievable, really,” French said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. When we were younger, we’d catch the occasional sculpin or something, but never a shark. No way. That was the highlight of the trip for me – three weeks out home, but that made it worth every penny.”

French went on to explain that although they did not bring the shark into the boat, they made sure to grab a couple of photos of their prize as a way to remember the moment, as well as silence any naysayers.

“It’s definitely no old fisherman’s tale,” said French, saying he knew some people likely wouldn’t believe him. “In the picture you can see our special hook. It’s red, and just along his belly, and it’s the same one we took a picture with later that day – the proof is in the pudding.”

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