REASONS to buy a bigger boat are a dime a dozen among fishermen.

But Rick O'Connor may have a better reason than most, after he and two others found themselves in a close encounter with a 5m great white shark near Sandon River on Sunday.

The Maclean resident was fishing with son Chris and his friend Brendan Locke a few kilometres offshore, when a distinctive fin appeared close to his 4.5m Quintrex.

"The thing was bigger than the boat," he said.

"It came right to the back of the motor under the boat and looked at us."

Mr O'Connor said the shark hung around for about five minutes, coming in close and circling the boat a few times before it disappeared.

"The three of us onboard were very close to the middle of the boat and went straight home after that," he laughed.

"It was just huge - it could have turned the boat over quite easily."

Mr Locke, who took some footage of the encounter, said they were too scared at first to even think about getting a video.

"That's the first time I've seen one and they're a lot bigger in real life than on TV," he said.

"The sheer thickness of them puts the wind up you a bit. I won't be going swimming anytime soon."

Mr O'Connor said he didn't want to alarm anyone by recounting his tale, but thought people should know a shark that size was around.

He last saw a great white of a similar size in the Clarence Valley about five years ago.

"If there was a dangerous dog around I'd want people to know about it, so I should people should know about this guy too," he said.


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