Sparta, TN - In a classic modern day twist on Ernest Hemingway’s classic “The Old Man and the Sea,” earlier this month Swedish kayak angler Joel Abrahamsson managed to hook and land a world record-smashing catch from a kayak in the deep, chilly, menacing waters off the Norwegian island of Andorja.
The epic man versus beast battle took place Sept. 1 and pitted the 33-year-old Swede in his 13-foot American-made Jackson Kayak Big Rig against a 200-year-old 1,247 pound Greenland shark as long as the boat. The shark’s weight was calculated by accompanying researchers who used a formula based on the shark’s 13.2-foot length and 6.6-foot girth. The heaviest kayak caught fish to make it to a certified scale was a 225-pound Blue Marlin caught in Hawaii. Abrahamsson’s catch dwarfs even the unofficial world record kayak caught fish, a 400-pound salmon shark caught and released in Alaska.
Thanks to drones, built-in GoPro camera mounts on the fishing boat, cameras above and below water and the viral nature of social media, news of the record catch spread fast across kayak fishing pros, enthusiasts and leading kayak fishing print and digital media outlets. During the course of Abrahamsson’s 90-minute effort to reel in the behemoth, the shark towed Abrahamsson several hundred yards until the angler was able to position himself directly atop the beast and put his two-speed reel in low gear to bring the massive fish up to the surface. Abrahamsson, who enjoyed the birth of his first child just three weeks earlier, said there were a couple times he feared the fish would capsize the boat and drag him to the bottom of the 1,600 foot deep hole he was fishing.
Jackson Kayak founder Eric Jackson said he is proud of both his European kayak fishing team member and the boat that helped land the world record catch. “This clearly demonstrates Jackson Kayak’s reputation for user-designed innovation. Even though we never imagined landing a fish this big, it is in large part due to input from our stable of avid kayak fishing pros like Joel that we are able to innovate and continue to build kayaks that deliver performance and results that exceed anglers’ expectations.”
Fellow Jackson Kayak fishing team member, kayak fishing pioneer and TV show host Jim Sammons was also quick to congratulate the Swede on the record achievement. “Abrahamsson’s achievement is truly remarkable. I believe it’s going to go down as the shot heard round the industry and could prove to be a tipping point for motorized and other anglers who have been on the fence about this relatively new sport.”
Abrahamsson described the moment he and the researchers could first see the shark about 50 feet under his boat, as a “religious moment.” The Swede says he has dreamed about seeing a living Greenland shark since he was a boy. Each year only about 10 – 15 of such sharks are caught on rod and reel. Wikipedia reports the shark is believed to be the longest-lived vertebrates on the planet.
The Greenland shark is protected against all commercial harvesting for 40 years and Abrahamsson was trying to catch the shark in order to let accompanying researchers in a motor boat tag it. The shark could be handled for no more than five minutes so to safeguard the health of the shark, the team agreed to IGFA rules that say a fish that big is considered landed if the angler touches the leader. The shark was caught, tagged and released unharmed. Abrahamsson trained for the epic adventure by dropping cement blocks to the bottom of a local lake and winding them up again with his equipment.
About Jackson Kayak. Founded in 2003, family owned and operated, American made Jackson Kayak is the leading world leader in the design, manufacturing and sale of whitewater and fishing kayaks.