A 60-year-old man who was ambushed in a terrifying crocodile attack managed to emerge victorious armed only with a small blade.

The fisherman struck out at the rampaging reptile after at rushed at him on the banks of the Mcivor River near Australia's Hope Vale.

He was trying to free a fishing lure from a tree when the predator sank its teeth into his leg on the stretch north of Cooktown.

Armed only with a pocket knife, he grabbed the weapon and stabbed the croc in the face as he clung desperately to the tree.

The crocodile had tried to drag him into the water but relinquished his grip when the blade sunk in, ABC reports.

Then, the bloke – who has not been named – drove himself to Cooktown Hospital despite his bleeding wounds. Once there, he was flown to Cairns Hospital for surgery.

It then emerged that this wasn't the only confrontation in which the man had been involved during the eventful fishing trip.

Before battling the crocodile, he'd walked up to a bull standing on the banks of the river and tried to "shoo" it away so he could fish on that spot.

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The Department of Environment and Science (DES) said: "He described grabbing a branch of a mangrove tree and holding on as long as he could while the animal attempted to pull him into the water by his boots.

"The man said that as he entered the water, he managed to retrieve his knife from his belt and stabbed the crocodile in its head until it let him go.

"He then scrambled up the bank and drove to Cooktown Hospital for treatment. He was later flown to the Cairns Hospital, where he is recovering."

The DES added that it won't be removing the crocodile because it lives in a remote location that the public would struggle to access.

It comes just days after a reported crocodile attack in that very river, which is known to be a preferred habitat for the reptiles.

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