Andy McMurray has described his close encounter with a great white shark as a surreal, once in a lifetime experience.
The keen angler was approximately 25 kilometres off the Forster coast on NSW's Mid North Coast, with Carlos Oesterheld, and Carlos' daughter, Holly, when the giant predator made its presence felt.
Carlos was pulling in a snapper - which incidentally was thrown back into the water - when their six metre Baysport fibreglass boat began to rock.
A quick glance into the ocean identified the problem; a two to three metre shark was circling the vessel.
"I knew straight away it was a white and it was approximately half the size of the boat," Andy said.
An enthusiastic and regular scuba diver - before COVID - Andy is well educated in shark identification, frequently travelling from his Coogee home in Sydney to South West Rocks, on the state's north coast, to swim and observe grey nurse sharks.
"It was either going for the snapper or the motor," he said.
"I think they are attracted to the sonar at the back of the boat and they like the humming sound of the motor."
The shark kept the trio company for about five minutes, circling the back of the boat snapping at and biting the motor, showing off its dorsal fin before losing interest, or knowing there were no fish, and swimming away.
"It was very aggressive at the start; you could tell it was hungry and wanted a feed."
Andy said he was initially alerted to the shark when he heard a loud, but distant splashing noise just before it showed up at their boat.
"There was a massive bait ball in the area."
The fishers called it a day not long after the encounter, returning to their Diamond Beach holiday home with a haul of flathead, snapper and mahi.
In the 20 plus years the family has been visiting the area, this was their first encounter with a great white.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.