It was more than five feet long, but it definitely wasn’t a keeper.
Nanaimo fisherman Roy Ban reeled in a sixgill shark last week in relatively shallow waters just off Entrance Island.
Ban had been fishing for cod that day but hadn’t landed any of catchable size, and was about to head in.
“We had our baby and he was crying, so I said, one more drop,” said Ban.
That’s when he happened to snag something out of the ordinary.
“I could totally tell it was a big one, just the way of how heavy it was and the way it fought – I just wasn’t sure what it was,” he said.
About 15-20 minutes of fighting brought the fish into view, and Ban said he thought it was some kind of shark, but it fought its way back down and it took the angler another 15-20 minutes to tire it out and bring it to the surface for a second time.
“I had a better look at it and I still wasn’t sure what kind of shark it was,” Ban said, adding that he just clipped his line at that point and let the shark go.
Since that day, Ban said a shark expert confirmed the catch was a sixgill shark. Fisheries and Oceans Canada lists the sixgill as one of seven shark species common to British Columbia and notes that the sixgill prefers to remain on the ocean floor and can grow up to 16 feet.
Ban shared his video with his fishing Facebook group and said someone there mentioned they caught a sixgill a few years ago in Barkley Sound on Vancouver Island’s west coast.
“But on this side, in Nanaimo, I just didn’t know we had that, especially in that shallow water,” Ban said.
Even though his catch wasn’t a keeper, it was worth all that reeling.
“I had to bring it in, to see what it was,” he said.