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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: My GWS Encounter @ Capitola 7/7/12 - updated 7/13  (Read 25184 times)

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  • Sea Lion
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7/13/12 New information just shared by authorities:

"The shark was estimated by your accounts and the physical evidence as being possibly 14 to 16 ft long which would be a very large Great White Shark! Your shark could have been about one ton potentially or approximately 2,000.00 pounds."

First of all I would like to thank my guardian angels who helped me survive my encounter with an apex predator today.

Hooked up with Kirk (LilRiverman) hoping to get some WSB or Halibut today.  Kirk agreed to carpool and use his van for our drive to Capitola.  As we were unloading, Chad (Fishadow) pulled in and joined us.
There were some big ground swells coming in followed by a long lull between the sets.  We time the lull perfectly and launch without a hitch at about 7:15 AM. Conditions were thick fog and very limited visibility.  Itís a good thing I have 5 inch color GPS plotter / FF combo that I always love to use.  I can see my exact location.

I had my yellow Revo 13 with me.  I just got it on May 18 itís her 4th time out and still a virgin.
We all work our way North, conditions were still foggy with limited visibility.  At about 8:15 Kirk mentions that he would like get his gear ready and we all agreed to do the same.

We were just outside the kelp beds close to Pleasure Point in about 40 feet of water.  I look west and see a small private boat with 4 passengers about 200 feet away. I will forever be grateful to these 4 people, Kirk and Chad. 

I had 2 rods already to go, baited with squid and noticed I was getting close to the kelp.  I started slowly pedaling away.  At approximately 8:25 AM, I was about half way between my yak buddies and the private boat. 

It started with a loud thud and violent jolt on the rear starboard side. The back of my kayak rose a few feet then the attack soon happened.  I saw the shark's massive head come out of the water and bite the bow starboard underside.
His head was gray and white underneath his mouth. His mouth was already close when I saw him come out of the water with my kayak in his mouth.  I can still see vividly the seriousness on his eyes.
This all happened in about 2 seconds.  I would later find out that he came up from behind and showed his dorsal fin then charged for his attack.

The force of his attack threw me into the water and turned the Revo completely upside down.  I immediately started yelling, SHARK, SHARK! several times.  My first instinct was to get on top of the upside down kayak. I tried this once but I just slide off.  I see the private boat heading towards me and in a flash decided itís my best chance of survival.  I did a slow breast stroke towards the boat and jumped abroad.  The only time I was really worried was when my feet were still in the water and Mr. Jaws would a take a parting bite.

I was never in a panic and always fully cognizant of what happening around me. 

The private boaters turned out to be Filipinos just like me.  I could hear Kirk ask them if they could tow my kayak back to the Capitola Pier and thankfully they agreed.  We were having some small talk and they told me they also have a Malibu tandem they use in the area.  Guess they wonít be using it soon.

We slowly motored towards the pierís boat ramp and pull my kayak on top.  We exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch.  Big swells were rolling and I had to do a balancing act. At that time there were 2 guys on rental kayaks going out fishing. I told to be careful and still went on their way.

I opened the bow hatch was surprised to find about 6 inches of water inside. I was really surprised because it towed gracefully.  I brought out my bilge pump and pumped the water out.  Pretty soon Kirk, Chad and JTfishing join me on the dock. JTfishing saw us coming in and also had enough.  We bring our yaks on top of the pier and word spreads quickly about my incident.

News travels fast in this town, Sean Van Sommeran shows up with his camera.  Bystanders were asking me repetitive questions. 
As Kirk and I were loading to go home a Capitola community police officer comes towards us with his flashing lights on and starts taking a report, taking pictures and interviewing Chad and Kirk. I asked him how did he found out and tells me a passerby told him.  Then his sergeant show up asking me if I wanted to talk to the local news.  I said no thanks.

We were loaded up and driving home and I get a call from the officer asking me to come over to the police station.  Soon I was instructed to leave my kayak with them for scientific analysis and there it still sits. Upon closer examination the police chief himself finds a small piece of a GWS tooth!  I was assured that one of the officers will deliver my yak to my home.

Lost gear: 1 rod and reel and one scotty rod holder. 
Bite size: 1 3/4 inches between teeth marks, 18 inches diameter.

Safety lesson learned today:  Never go out alone.  Stay close to your fellow yakkers. Make sure your PFD is strapped right, safety whistle, throw rope, bilge pump, as many pool noodles inside your yak, cheap pipe insulation will make your rod and reel float.
God watching over me.  I honestly was never afraid through it all. I knew deep inside me everything would be alright :smt001

« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 02:28:54 PM by FishingAddict »
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It's what NCKA brothers do!

Our dream of giant sea bass didn't come true but it was shown again, today, what a unique and great group of people make up the NCKA.  As per Mel's post the three of us were headed out setting a brisk pace towards the reported fishing grounds. Being the most familiar with the area I lead the way to the right, down the kelp lanes or skirting  just to the kelp's outside edge when it looked too heavy for Mel's pedal drive. In an hour I'm confident we traveled at least a mile and a half and where probably close to a half mile off  Pleasure Point. The fog made determining exact location difficult. We had just started fishing when I turned my head in time to catch the last of Mel's rollover.

When something like this happens so many thoughts go through your head in a very short amount of time.  My first though was how the heck did he manage to tip over in such nice conditions. It didn't matter why because I was already digging my paddle in to turn towards Mel. I started to think PB wake. In hindsight I think I was the sharks wake that gave me that impression. I started to think shark when this big arcing spray of water came up behind Mel's kayak. From my angle the peak of the water was pretty much centered on the middle of the yak rising up 2 -3 feet above the overturned yak tapering down and reaching almost to the ends of the yak. IMO the shark estimates of 13-15 feet are accurate.  The 18" bite marks were measured up one side of the bow and down the other, so the actual bite diameter may be a bit smaller.  Also in hindsight I realize that when I saw the yak rolling over, his bow was rotated at least 90 degrees counter clockwise from his direction of travel a few moments before. Rotated no doubt by the shark.
 Once I realize it was a shark and heard Mel shout, Shark , Kirk, Shark, Shark. I was putting the paddle down as hard as I could.  I turned to see if I had Chad's backup. He was already digging in. Our eyes locked for another fraction of a second and I think we each knew we were going straight in, as a team. It would have taken us 30 - 60 seconds to reach Mel, which is a long time during these conditions.  Fortunately the nearby  PBer didn't hesitate either and was able to quickly tail walk his boat over to Mel.  I imagine the boats incoming motor noise eliminated any chance of the shark's return. With Mel onboard I was able to retrieve his floating rod and corral his kayak. I didn't think I could safely right the kayak from a seated position so Chad stabilized the yak while I prepped a bow line.  We towed the yak to the PB. They righted the boat and then they attached another line to mine and towed the boat in. Chad and I tried to hold onto the Revo for  the return but after a short period it became too difficult and we finished on our own. For a while, we were escorted in by several large dolphins.
Sometimes on this site we bash Pbers, but their wonderful response proves there are good people everywhere.
I have to commend Chad. He didn't hesitate and got things done when they needed doing. He was a bit amped afterward as he put the word out over the radio , but that is to be expected under those conditions.  For shark rescue assists Chad is now the NCKA's most experienced member. He goes by FiShadow for the good times he's had fishing with uncle Adam. With today's assist and his current position on the AOTY leader board, showing he is a kayak fisherman to be taken seriously, I think it's time for a name change!  I like Rescue 2 for his two shark rescue assists. What do you say Chad?  Time for a name change?
I think Mel is handling it really well. He doesn't want publicity and wants to keep this low key, His biggest worry going home was what he would tell his wife. He kept asking me. I told him that when he was telling his concerned friends about the encounter, he would say a shark bit him. Saying it several times before he clarified by saying a shark bit his yak. I said,  "you don't start out by telling your wife  - a shark bit me."  :smt005
 Mel, I hope Donna understands, and we'll tell her if she doesn't, that the next time and the times after that, your NCKA brothers will bring you back home, safe.

After our return the circus began. We made it through the curious tourists and we were about to load up the car when the PD arrived and wanted to take statements and pictures.. We finished when the officer's Sergent came and wanted a report.  We finally got away, but before we could get out of town the PD called Mel and they wanted us to bring the yak to the police station.  At the police station they politely confiscated his yak for scientific purposes. They took the yak inside where we had to give another report. There they also spotted the embedded tooth.  We exited, but right before we could drive away they asked us to stay so a Sheriff's Deputy could take another report. Mel gave his report again. The Deputy then questioned me. He was just finishing up and he may have had a question or two more when I looked up to see a channel 8 news van driving towards the PD. I said, we're outa here. The Deputy saw the news van and said, OK.  For confirmation, he stated, you don't want to talk to the media? Mel said, No!!! - and we split before the news crew realized the story was right in front of  them.
 Everyone!  Let's do what we can to keep the Media off of Mel and his family. Many of us have known Mel  for a while and have personal info that the Media doesn't need. This is a public forum. Online or off let's be careful.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 04:26:52 PM by LilRiverMan »
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  • Sea Lion
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glad your ok and that you had some really good company! thanks for sharing .
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Thanks you so much for sharing your story, Mel. That's really scary stuff and I'm glad you're ok man.
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Thanks for sharing your experience Mel.  Glad you're not hurt.
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way to keep your cool.  Sends chills down the spine seeing another yellow yak with black markings getting hit.
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Right on Mel, thanks for getting right back to us. I'm happy everything worked out good!
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Good thing people were nearby to give you a hand Mel. Thanks for sharing your mishap with all of us. One more thing, imagine how much more water you would have taken in if you had the T13 with it's thin plastic instead of the Revo.

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You should change your handle to 'The Iceman'. Way to keep your cool during and after.

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God bless you Mel. Saved by a boat of Pinoy. Doesn't get better than that.  :smt003 Tim and I fished that area 2 days ago and it was creepy. Loaded with otters, seals and small dolphins. My head was on a swivel.  :smt011
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thanks for your informative narrative mel.
and glad you are ok


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Thanks Mel. So happy that you are OK. That's gotta be the weirdest feeling in the world. I'm glad you kept your wits and didn't succumb to the GD media. Chuck, you gotta get this man a new boat. I would definitely want that tooth back Mel.
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Yes, thank the Angels watching over you. Close call, I'm glad your okay Mel
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BTW, breast stroke or side stroke is the stroke of choice in that situation vs the crawl or back stroke which causes more splashing.
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Kuya Mel thanks for sharing your story.  Glad your OK