Sharks following fish to beaches

PROFESSIONAL fisherman, John Ede, who operates a fishing charter boat out of Tweed Heads, warns bathers frolicking in the surf off Gold Coast beaches that the shark net is not foolproof.

Mr Ede was at the helm of his Reel Fishn charter boat one day last week with a group of anglers on board when he followed a shoal of game fish over the shark net into the waterway.

Over the next hour the group landed two hammerhead sharks and another three were lost off the hooks.

"Beachgoers should be aware that no shark net is totally foolproof," Mr Ede said.

"There's room over the top and underneath the net for smaller sharks to slip through into the supposedly protected area - it would be same on most shark-netted beaches around the country.

"Look, I'm not trying to scare people from entering the water at Tugun and Bilinga but I'd just like to remind surfers that they should always be wary of the sea's predators - all sharks are capable of eating a person.

"The sea is their domain and their presence in their own environment must be respected."

Mr Ede, who has operated his business for 13 years aboard Reel Fishn, a 37-foot Kevlacat catamaran, also reported that he has seen "bit of an increase" in shark numbers off Nine Mile Reef which is east of Cook Island near Kingscliff.

"The presence of these predators - and let's face it, the ocean is full of predators with sharks at the top of the food chain - always depends on which fish along the food chain is chasing the ones above it," Mr Ede said.

"If there are tuna, wahoo, marlin or big mackerel running as they have been lately, you can be assured that big sharks are not far away."

The presence of game fish along the coastline has ensured Mr Ede is in for a busy time during the festive season.

"I could have taken out a group on Christmas Day but I enjoy the company of my better half and thought better of it," Mr Ede said.

Mr Ede's partner should enjoy her man's company because she won't be seeing much of him during daylight hours throughout the holiday period and deep into January as Reel Fishn is totally booked-out.

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