SYDNEY, Australia - A man who caught a 4-foot shark with his bare hands off an Australian beach said on Friday he only tried the feat because he was drunk on vodka.

Phillip Kerkhof was fishing off a jetty at Louth Bay, a town on South Australia state's Eyre Peninsula 870 miles west of Sydney, when he spotted the bronze whaler shark swimming in the shallows, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

"I just snuck up behind him, and eventually I went for the big grab and I fluked it and got him," Kerkhof said.

"He was just thrashing around in the water ... starting to turn around and try to bite me and I thought 'well, it's amazing what vodka does'," Kerkhof said.


The shark bit a hole in Kerkhof's jeans, but he was uninjured.


"It's not something I'd recommend to do. When I sobered up I thought about it and I said, 'I'm a bit of an idiot for doing it'," Kerkhof said.

Many species of sharks are common in Australian waters, and there are an average of 15 shark attacks per year in the country _ roughly one person each year is killed by a shark.

Last month, an abalone diver had an incredible escape after being almost swallowed head first by a huge shark off the New South Wales state coast.

http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2007/02/15/ap/strange/d8nafs900.txt