Har­bour Grace na­tive reels in blue shark

Shark high­light of three-week trip home

The Compass - - Sports - BY CHRIS LEWIS Chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pas.ca

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 three­week 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.

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.

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. 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.

“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.”

When we were younger, we’d catch the oc­ca­sional sculpin or some­thing, but never a shark.

— Gord French

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

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

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

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