THIS really is the tale of the one that got away.
When keen angler, 11-year-old Nicholas Brasen, went out on his regular fishing trip with his father and friends over the weekend, he had hoped to land a decent catch.
But he could never have imagined he'd wind up hooking a humpback whale.
The Tweed Heads South boy said he was shocked to find the big bite at the end of his line was not a huge fish, but rather a whale whose head was the size of his boat.
He had hooked the whale while anchored off the coast of Kingscliff about 7am on Saturday.
He and mate Tyler Bryant, 10, were shocked as they were forced to keep an eye out in case the nose of the boat went under from the force of the huge mammal, as an even larger beast swam nearby.
"I was just petrified," Nicholas said.
"I was really surprised. It was huge... and it was only a baby."
Tyler said while the encounter was startling, it wasn't enough to stop the lads heading back out to sea the next morning.
Nicholas' father Glenn Brasen - whose video footage of the catch has gone viral on social media - said he had been inundated with media attention since posting the scene.
"I didn't realise the magnitude of social media," he said.
Mr Brasen said while in previous years he'd enjoyed a host of whale encounters, his regular fishing outings with Nicholas had never been quite like this one, with the attention stirring up plenty of excitement for the boys.
When their two fishing lines went off simultaneously, Mr Brasen had suspicions it was a whale before the humpback emerged above the water.
"I had a fair inkling that it was a whale because of the pace, and because two of the lines went off at the same time," Mr Brasen said.
Mr Brasen said while they'd seen large numbers of humpbacks as their annual migration continues, this would be one experience they wouldn't forget.
"It was amazing," Mr Brasen said.
"I think they're curious... and (encounters) seem to be happening on a more regular basis."
They didn't return home empty-handed from the trip; Mr Brasen said they nabbed some great snapper along with a 15kg jewfish.
Nicholas will compete in this weekend's Tim the Bream Fishing Classic at Yamba, where he last year claimed first prize for the "most random" catch.
He said he'd love to have another close encounter like that with the whale.
"I'd never seen a whale that close before and I hope to see one again, and get it on film again," he said.