No more shark selfies!
On an all too regular basis, we hear about people who get injured or even die while trying to take a picture for social media. This week, I was almost that guy. It all started when I decided to do a little tarpon fishing. With the water beginning to cool off, tarpon will be leaving the Lowcountry very soon. So, I set out to catch one before they left.
Step One was to locate a large school of menhaden just off the beach and catch a few for live bait. Step Two was to stay with the menhaden school because tarpon, bull redfish and sharks often follow their favorite food source. Step Three was to pick up a 30-pound class spinning outfit and rig a live menhaden on a 5/0 circle hook. Step Four was to use the trolling motor to stay in contact with the school and deploy the live bait behind the boat. Step Five was to listen to the stereo, enjoy the weather and wait for a bite.
After about 20 minutes, the rod bent over double and a tarpon jumped right behind the boat. Unfortunately, the circle hook failed to set. No worries, I quickly deployed another live bait and settled back into Step Five. For the next hour or so, not much happened. I was about to call it quits when the rod bent over double again. This time the circle hook did set, and line poured off the spinning reel at a torrid pace. Whatever I had hooked was big. Really big. The fight was tough and the outcome often in doubt. Eventually, a 5-foot shark (not sure what species) came to the boat. My smart-self told me to take a picture of the shark swimming alongside the boat and release it without bringing it aboard. My not-so-smart-self told me to bring it aboard and take a really cool selfie. I pondered both options and decided to compromise, leave the shark in the water and try to get a really cool selfie. I was about to take the picture when the shark snapped at the hand that was holding my phone (apparently way too close to its face). For a fraction of a second, its teeth caught in the sleeve of my shirt. Time slowed down. I distinctly remember thinking; this is not good. Quickly followed by: you are an idiot. Thankfully, other than a slight scratch, no physical damage was done.
So, this week, there is no picture. Should I ever have the urge to take a selfie with a shark, I will use a selfie stick. Better yet, no more shark selfies!
Contact Captain Greg Peralta at email@example.com or call (843) 224-0099.