Amigos: Now this is what I call a FISH story! I first met Mike a couple of years ago, while fishing in La Paz, Mexico, and after only a few minutes his obsession with SHARKS was very obvious. My last visit with Mike, was back in June, in Los Angeles where we had the extreme experience of filming a Great White Shark in captivity! Enjoy his story below as much as I did and if you get a chance check his web-site, www.sharkfishing.us. Let’s go CATCHING!!! C-YA, Red ED
SUBJECT: one word… MONSTER!
I’ve been fishing sharks for years and have only seen two other sharks that would be in the same league as the one we caught last weekend. It could not have been caught at a better time!! With 3 cameras on the boat to document it!
I have been helping Scott who has a production company that will be producing the 1st ever televised So. Cal. prime time shark tournament series (for OLN). He wanted me to get my shark fishing team together and do a day of tourney pre-fishing for the PCYC tourney and they were going to join me – and film it. I also just agreed to supply info on the tournament series on my website for anyone who is interested in fishing in it – if you would like more info go to – http://www.sharks.us/tournamentWestCoast.htm
Scott Gurney the producer who has produced and directed big time reality shows is also a fisherman so he gets it. He has the 38 fountain “Hotlines”. We would pre-fish out of his boat.
Chum went in just before noon and the little Makos showed up ASAP. Of course the underwater cameras were there to capture it!
A few hours passed… And the little guys kept coming in. I call them little because anything was little compared to what was about to happen.
What happened next will forever be imprinted in my brain. At around 5pm the seals split, the bait vanished, and the gulls left. I checked one of the chum buckets and it still had chum left in it, the other chum bucket was empty. I knew that the high tide was coming up and we needed to stick this out for as long as we could. I took some bait cut it up into chunks and put them into the bucket and placed it back in the water.
Bring the cameras along and look what happens, NOTHING! Then an image caught my eye. Was that a shadow? Cloud cover? Then a swirl in the water that looked like twin Mercury 300 HP outboards taking off.
It was a mako that was so big that when it finned its tail would FLOP FROM SIDE TO SIDE SLAPPING THE WATER!
I told the rod man to grab the rod put it free spool and get ready. I honestly felt like we were filming jaws. The underwater cameras were in the water in a flash and the producer says that is a big shark! I smiled and said NO, that’s a F’ing Huge shark maybe a White it was so big. I had look at it several times before I knew it was a Monster Mako!
We filmed it for what seemed like an eternity as the monster swam round and round the boat. At times the shark was finning and on other passes she would go deep.
It truly was just like the movie as the shark would pass by the props and along the port side then across the bow. I literally stood right over her looking straight down at her, only mere feet under the surface. This was not a bus stop, she was not a bus. She looked more like a sub, a sub armed with teeth racked forward and ready to go!
The shark was so surreal that I did not even care to catch the beast as watching her was so unbelievable!
Its funny how such a beast like this will just make you go weak kneed just by the shear size of such an animal. Scott asked me if I was going to fight the fish, I said “No are you”, he said “No”. I said “That’s why we brought the muscle, they will fight her and I am going to skipper the boat.”
It was time to test the team out to see if we could muster what it takes to tangle with this giant prehistoric beast. I told the team that we were going to release this fish if we were successful in catching her. “Why release her?” they said. Why? I said “Because if we were to subdue and kill her now, before the tournaments, it would put the kybosh on us.” Simply put, we would not have any success in the tournaments for another giant. Plus, we had so much under water footage that we need to be thankful for that. Also this fish needs to live to fight another day. All agreed! “Let’s do this!” I shouted!
We baited it and it ate. I counted out loud as the rod man looked at me and then he looked at his line screaming off the reel. He sets the hook and the shark goes NUTS!!! It then proceeds to jump three times next to the boat soaking the cameraman! At that moment I feared for my son’s life as the last jump was coming back toward the boat. Then the line went slack, it spit the hook on the last jump. NO WAY! How did that happen? A once in a lifetime opportunity… Gone. Nope… 5 minutes later – she showed up again. I have never seen a mako shark do that. I could not believe my eyes. I franticly re-baited the hook and tossed it back out. I feared that this time she was going to take a little longer to bite on a hook again. The shark made wide circles around the boat for a long time. Needless to say I was speechless and the rest on the crew were going crazy watching the fish swim round and round the boat. Some of the ideas being brought up on how to bait this fish were funny as hell, but I stood my ground, and I watched the fishes every move. The fish started to make tighter circles and I said here we go, get ready she is hot now! Sure enough after a few real tight circles the fish went for the bait.
The beast went NUTS again! She jumped several times and pealed line at a very high rate of speed.
I gave this beast the name “Unknown” because the true weight of this beast will never be known. Hence. Unknown. But if I were to guess the weight, I would say not less the 800 and up to or over 1000.
We chased her for awhile and were able to get her to leader several times. While at leader more under water film was shot.
My seven year old son, Hunter, was into this drama the whole way through. Hunter had comments and suggestions like a captain, especially when we went in front of four tankers that were in a lined up row. While hooked up on the shark with night falling upon us, Hunter went on tanker watch for a while.
I told everyone it was time to cut the leader and let’s do this shark before we lose all our light. Wouldn’t you know it, after more then a half a dozen times bring that shark to leader for the camera she makes one more 300 yard run and goes deep. I crapped myself at this point thinking we blew the release if we lose her now. I did everything in my power to keep the situation under control. This fish was now going to bring us into the night for sure. With Hunter keeping our spirits high, we buckled down for the long haul.
For two more hours we were on this beast. Let me tell you that when I say it was pitch black out, it was black. It was one of nights where you can’t see were the sky begins and the water ends.
I finally got her to come up from the deep to the surface. Once near the surface I said to the crew, this is it, let’s not blow this, I want a clean release on film.
Scott got out the spotlight and I turned that beautiful Hotlines boat towards fish. I set up the positions for everyone to take and we would play this out like pros. With cameras rolling we wired that beast over to the port side and I reached down and cut the wire. The shark drifted off silently into the dark. We watched in amazement and were yelling with joy. What was a perfect day.
This is BIG GAME FISHING off So. Cal. There are 1500 pounders lurking out there just off our coast. Some day the world record will be broken, most likely from a mako caught off of So. Cal.
Captain Mike Schmidt