Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shark Week

So a couple weeks a go was shark week on Discovery Channel. While fishing offshore there are many fish you can catch, Red Snapper,Grouper, and Mackerel to name a few. But the favorite out here to catch is a Shark. They are fairly easy to catch if they are in the area. And it doesn't take much to get them into the area.A few cans of Vienna sausages and a slop bucket and they come right in. The slop bucket is what all the table scraps and leftovers go into. After you dump a slop bucket into the water three times a day for the last 20-30 years fish seem to take notice on this free meal and stick around the platforms in the Gulf. And when you have thousands of fish in a feeding frenzy the shark come in to. Now there is nothing like catching a 100-200 pound shark and fighting him. You start out by catching some trash fish for bait, usually hardtail about 10-15 inches long. You cut these into steak slices and hook them into your large hook. We all use 80-100 pound test line and use stainless steel wire, yes wire to hook from your line to the hook, otherwise as soon as the shark takes the bait their razor sharp teeth will cut your line. now you just cast your line out as far as you can and wait. The nice thing is without a wait and just your bait your line stays on top of the water and you can watch the shark come in and take the bait. And these shark just don't bite the bait the grab it and run so they are immediately hooked.Sometimes you are lucky and the shark will turn and swim towards the platform,I was not so lucky the other day. I only had about 150 feet of line on my reel and at least 100 ft was in the water when the shark grabbed it. Now this was no ordinary shark it was a monster,and this is my story and I am sticking to it. Jaws took the bait and headed towards the beach, Jaws is what I call him because that is how big he was. Instead of jaws being nice and headed towards the platform he decided a beach vacation would be nice and took all of my line and was swimming like hell. Remember I only had about 25-50 feet on my reel when Jaws headed north, and my drag was not holding him back. So me being smart put my thumb on the bait casting reel to stop it and Jaws did not slow down. He continued heading in the same northerly direction and after about 10 seconds he had ran all of my line out and broke it. So Jaws got away but another guy caught his little brother. Now once a shark is on deck it becomes a challenge to remove the hook so it can be thrown back or kept. Most are thrown back unharmed. So when they are on the deck a pair of pliers are needed to remove the hook. Usually one person will hold the shark down sitting on its back somewhat like you would do an alligator. Now remember these are 6-7 foot long shark, the other person will use the pliers to remove the hook from its mouth which can be hard due to the tough skin. Once the hook is removed and the pictures are taken the shark is returned to the water. The shark the other day had other plans then having the hook removed. He played possum until the pliers were put by his mouth, and no one was sitting on his back. This shark leaped off the deck and grabbed the pliers in his mouth. I found this rather amusing especially since there was no severed hand attached to the pliers. Sharks have an amazing bite force but that is not the worst the teeth are like razors and there are a a bunch of them in their mouth. Now this shark new he was getting thrown back and I guess wanted to take a souvenir with him. Once the pliers were taken out of the sharks mouth you could see the deep scratches in them. The shark was then thrown back in the water.

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