Video: 'I was trembling like a schoolgirl' - fisherman recounts adrenaline-pumped encounter with great white shark off Auckland bay

An Auckland fisherman who had a close encounter with a great white shark circling his boat says it totally freaked him out, he was trembling and "totally adrenalised".

Sean McCormack has told 1 NEWS NOW he was out in his 3.6 metre tinny alone off Red Beach north of Auckland about 1pm on Friday March 3.

He had been fishing for about three hours in 10 metres of water when the shark showed up as he was preparing to leave.

He was using a salmon burly bag and says the shark must have smelled that from a distance.

The shark grabbed the burly and swam around the boat for three to four minutes as Mr McCormack filmed it with his phone.

"It totally freaked me out," he said.

"I was trembling like a schoolgirl. I was totally adrenalised, mate."

The shark was the same length as the boat and would weigh 300 to 400 kilos, he said.

He left his long line out for about 15 minutes after seeing the shark, but when he went to pull the line in the shark chopped through it, taking the line and the fish on it.

The shark's tail hit the boat which started leaning over at one point, but eventually disappeared.

Mr McCormack said he scooted back to Stanmore Bay and saw Red Beach was packed with swimmers, but he didn't report the shark sighting because he "didn't want to create panic on the whole Hibiscus Coast".

In 30 years of fishing he had seen other sharks but never a great white and said it was "a real privilege" to  see one.

The Stanmore Bay local hasn't been for his normal swim there for the past three weeks but he did go out fishing again last Wednesday, opting to take his six-metre boat this time.

Mr McCormack said a friend filmed a great white, also known as a white pointer, in the area about a week before his own encounter, and it must have been the same one.

Department of Conservation marine expert Clinton Duffy said there are fairly regular sightings of great white sharks throughout the Hauraki Gulf each year, including places like the outpost off Leigh, off Tiritiri Matangi and in the upper Waitemata Harbour.