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2017 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Nice Sharky. Gooood Sharky.  (Read 1688 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

jnthn

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December 20th, 1999:

Dateline: Santa Cruz, CA - I was done with finals and I slept late.  I awoke to a beautiful Winter's day.  It was a bit cool, as you might expect in December, but the sun was warm and the winds were light.  Over my late-morning coffee, I decided I would paddle out of the S.C. harbor and head over to the lighthouse area to see what I might find.  I loaded up and launched around noon.  There were a few other boats, here and there, and we were all having a slooooow day.  Not a lot of action but I was still having a great time lazily paddling, relaxing and generally winding down after a stressful quarter at UCSC.  It was getting around 4:00 PM and I was drifting about 1/2 a mile straight out from the lighthouse.  There was zero wind and Monterey Bay was flat, glassy and peacefully quiet.  Off towards the mile buoy I noticed a large bait ball popping on the surface.  My line was at the bottom, so I reeled up to make the move.  Just off the bottom I got a small hit.  I cranked it up and found a 6"-7" kingfish (white croaker) on my hook.  I was going to release it, then thought maybe I could use it as live bait.  I left it in the water and madly paddled my way over to the bait ball.  As I approached the target area, I slowed down and let my momentum carry me into the middle of the boil.  I had been "bounce balling" all day and decided I would leave the tackle as is and lowered the three-way rig down about 30 feet.  The water around the mile buoy is 60-70 feet and I figured mid-column under the school of bait was as good a depth as any.  I began gently dipping my paddle to get a very slow troll going while avoiding spooking the bait.  It was now about 4:30 and the sun was low on the horizon.  The sky was getting colorful and I was in awe.  I was in the midst of having absurd fantasies about catching a dream fish:  salmon to 40 Lbs;  white seabass to 70 Lbs; record sized halibut, when all of the sudden over my left shoulder there was a loud sound of rushing water.  My head snapped to the left and I see a large dorsal fin streaking past me four feet to port side.  It was follow closely buy a very large tail fin.  With eyes bugged out, I tracked the tail as it passed by at an estimated 20 MPH.   My kayak was nudged to the right by the "bow" wake.  I watched the tail drop under the surface about 20 or 30 feet in front of my bow.  I said "OH SHIT!."  Then I realized my line was no longer trailing behind me...it was IN FRONT of me.  I picked up my bait knife and cut the line as it began to unspool.  I put my rod down,  picked up my paddle, looked around and discovered I was absolutely alone on the water one mile off shore.  Not a boat to be seen.  I wasn't far from the buoy and my first instinct was to get the hell out of the water.  Then I thought: "If I climb onto that buoy I will be here all night."  The buoy looked very close and the beach looked very far away.  I decided the "safest" thing to do was paddle back to the harbor.  I have never consentrated on making clean, quiet paddle strokes as I did that day.  I didn't know where the shark had gone and I wasn't interested in advertising my position with a lot of loud splashing strokes.  I don't know exactly how big that shark was.  It all happened so fast.  I can't even say with absolute certainty what species it was.  I do know it wasn't a thresher - tail fin not long and tapering.  It wasn't a blue because it wasn't dark enough.  It was medium grey and estimate it was in the 12 foot +- range.  I believe it was a young GWS that found my kingfish too tempting to pass up.  Whatever it was, it either took my bait or just got tangled in my line because it got too close.  Given it's speed, I am certain it was in attack mode and either the former is true or I got lucky because it decided, at the last moment, that my kayak didn't look like an elephant seal and the ladder is true.  Anyway, you know a shark is BIG when you've been slowly paddling for 15 minutes and feel the need to flag down the first boat you see and ask for a lift.  This event inspired me to buy my first handheld VHF radio.


Seabreeze

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Wow.........too bad walking/running on water doesn't work for us mere mortals.  Glad you were able to share the story........... :smt009
Saltwater is the cure for everything that ails us,
sweat, tear or the sea.


Bill

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Great story! Next time set the hook on that bad boy and maybe it will tow you in! Just kidding of course.  :smt003


 

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