But the unusual creature, which was spotted in Jersey waters at the weekend, is in fact a sunfish.
David Haynes was fishing with friends near Corbière Lighthouse when he noticed the distinctive shape of a fin in the water.
‘Initially we thought it might have been a shark as I had seen
a reasonable-sized porbeagle shark in the same location a few years previously,’ said Mr Haynes.
‘However, the flapping fin led us to believe it was a sunfish instead. It drifted literally alongside us on the surface for a minute or two and made no attempt to swim away even though we were so close up.’
Sally Sleath also sighted the fish while out with family on a dolphin-spotting RIB trip near Corbière.
‘The fish was huge and we couldn’t work out what it was,’ said Ms Sleath. ‘We sent the pictures to my brother-in-law, who was a marine biologist in Australia, and he told us what it was and said it was extremely rare – the largest bony fish – and was sunning itself to warm up after diving deep for a feed.’
An adult sunfish can reach three metres in length and over a tonne in weight. Feeding mostly on jellyfish, the sunfish tends to appear in local waters around June or July.