The most frequent question I am asked – “Are there any sharks in Port Stephens?” – hoping that my answer will be – “No, there are no sharks here”. The truth, of course, is, “Yes there are!” This honest answer brings a fearful reaction. 

In fact we had a shark processing  factory in the Port until 1933 when we ran out of sharks. Well, not all the sharks, as discovered by Tracey Sweetman on a mulloway excursion in the deep water off Middle Island, Soldiers Point.

Fishing with Game Fish champion Peter Silcock Tracey hooked a thumper. The battle was intense with strained muscles, nerves and line. Close to the surface, the battle was nearly won, when – cruncho! Something even bigger and scarier attacked! Then a heavy, lifeless weight as the line was wound to the side of the boat.  A 20kg mulloway, reduced to crab bait in seconds. Peter’s summary of events suggests that a three metre  shark was responsible.

Yes, there are sharks in the water – that’s where sharks live. 

(That’s very philosophical, Stinker! – Ed.)

Fishing writer, author and radio presenter John “Stinker” Clarke can be heard weekly, throughout NSW, on popular ABC Regional Radio fishing program “The Big Fish”. Check him out on or send an email to with your information and questions. 

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