This Day in History (21-Apr-1959) – Alf Dean using a rod & reel hooks a 2,664lb, 16′ 10″ white shark

Alf Dean was a farmer in Australia having fishing as a hobby. With the citrus and grape high season times, Alf could only get away fishing in December, January and after the grape harvest, April. After many recreational fishing trips in this window of time and later in search of the bigger game, Alf Dean took to deep sea fishing for the giant white pointer sharks.  One of the days, in the many trips to the Great Southern Ocean off South Australia, his rod was broke by whale. He lashed a broomstick to the fractured rod and baited up again. It wasn’t long before he hooked big one. The shark was brought in, gaffed and towed to weigh-in at Port Lincoln. His first shark was a white pointer and a mere 868 pounds. The joke around was ‘not bad Alf, for landing him with a broomstick’.

After that experience, Alf was hugely keen to get back fishing for the big one but he knew his gear was not up to standard. After researching heavy duty rods and gear throughout Australia, he finally went to southern Victoria and found an ‘orange wood’ that he bought at Baccus Marsh and milled into billets in Oakleigh. He then had a Frankston long bow maker make the billets into superb looking rod shafts. He fitted his own ferrules and clips, by binding them on the rod guides. His efforts resulted in numerous world records, a ton of accolades, and the title of “the world’s greatest shark fisherman.”

In 1952, he created a world record by catching 2352 pound shark. He broke his own record in 1954 by catching 2372 pounds fish! The largest great white recognized by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) is one landed by Alf Dean in south Australian waters in 1959, weighing 1,208 kilograms (2,664 lb). Understand this monster was caught with a rod and reel!   To this day, no record has come within 750 pounds of that shark. He held 7 world records of 7 heaviest fish caught. However he missed the biggest white shark of estimated 4000 pounds twice in his career.



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