Former Sharks player on reviving a shark: ‘We fought it for an hour’

2019-07-26 19:03
Former Sharks player Kyle Cooper and his brother Keagan trying to revive a shark they caught. (Supplied)

Former Sharks player Kyle Cooper and his brother Keagan trying to revive a shark they caught. (Supplied)

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Former Sharks hooker Kyle Cooper went drone fishing and reeled in the mascot of his former team.

Cooper, 30, who now lives in the UK, was back in South Africa for a five-week holiday when a friend invited him to enter a drone fishing competition.

Drone fishing is similar to ordinary fishing but you use a drone to drop your bait at a distance and reel the catch in, according to Fish Masters.  

To prepare for the competition, which entailed hooking big fish, Cooper, his father, Shane, and brother Keagan, 27, decided to go fishing.

"We decided to fish at Beachwood in Durban North because that’s where the Zambezi bull sharks were," he said to YOU.

"So we were targeting them."

After dropping his bait, a big bull mullet, into the ocean using the drone, he left it for four hours, hoping for a bite.

"At midday, which is a time we least expected a Zambezi shark behind the backline, the rod went," he said excitedly.

Cooper and his brother worked tirelessly to land it.

"We fought the fish for the next hour and a half trying to get it off the hook and eventually we got the fish to the shore break."

The trio often fish for fun but return the fish to the water.

"We measured it, checked the species and sex before returning it safely back into the sea," said Cooper.

Fatigued from grappling with the brothers, the shark needed a little bit of a push getting it back home.

"We pulled it into the water, turned its face onto the waves, and basically just got some water running through its gills."

Within a minute of the shark being in the water, Kyle said they could feel life returning to its body.

"It started making rapid movements and basically wanted to be let go. We gave it a little push and within minutes it swam off perfectly."

"We don’t eat fish in my family, so even when we do go fishing, we always return the animal to its natural habitat and in the case of the shark that wasn’t any different."

To Cooper, it’s important to ensure that anything caught is safely revived before it's returned to the sea.

"It had been out of the water for so long. It was just the right thing to do and make sure it was revived properly and released safely.”

The video went viral after Cooper's dad shared it on his Facebook page.

"We didn’t realise this at the time, but our father had recorded the entire incident and within a matter of weeks after sharing the video on his Facebook page it went viral."

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