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Close Encounter With A Shark
I was talking to someone the other day on the phone and I had mentioned being able to write stories about fishing since I had lived across the street from the beach for 10 years. He had asked me if I ever caught a shark. I told him no but I told him the story below. Enjoy!
This story is the best of my recollection as how it happened. It was 35 years ago.
The sun was descending in the west. A few hours before sunset, my friend P and I met up inside our apartment complex. We both lived there in separate units. It was a small complex, only 15 units. The beach was right across the main road from us. Carefully, we ran across the road and walked down the path to the beach access. The path was flanked with palm fronds from small bushes. We walked up the four small steps to the beach access. It was a small landing area with a bench. The bench was not pointed directly at the beach. If you sat down, you would be looking at the sea oats that sat between the beach and the road. You could also see the high rise condos to the south. I used to go up there on that landing all the time to see what was going on, whether it was to see if someone was fishing, sunbathing, or surfing.
We descended the fifteen stairs and landed on the beach. Our flip flops slipping below the sand level like we were sinking into quicksand. We peeled them off and started walking. About thirty yards away, there were four guys with a large baitcasting reel attached to a six-foot rod. We stopped to talk to them. They were fishing for sharks. Night-time is one of the best times to fish for sharks.
They had a surfboard and asked if one of us could take the bloody bait that was on the hook out to the ocean for them. With the rod and reel they were using, they wouldn’t be able to throw it out the usual way.
P asked me if I wanted to do it. I told him no. I think I was probably thinking ‘are you crazy?’. He decided he was going to do it. He grabbed the white surfboard with emblems and took off walking down the beach. He went about forty yards to the north and entered the ocean. As he lied down on his stomach on the board, I saw his right hand had the bloody baited hook. I wondered how he was going to paddle and hold onto the bait at the same time. I watched as he struggled moving his arms through the water. The bait kept falling off the surfboard and into the water. The waves at the time were about 2 to 3 feet. He paddled out about 100 yards and dropped the bait.
He turned around and paddled back into shore. The baited hook quickly took off toward the shoreline because it didn’t have any weight on it to keep it stuck to the bottom of the ocean. As he exited the ocean, the guys and I saw a shark right near the shore, only a few feet away from where he had been.
It was gray looking and I estimated it at 6 feet in length. It was right where the wave was breaking. It was real close to the beach. I could have walked right up and touched it, that’s how close it was in the surf. When we told him, the look on his face told me everything I needed to know. He was scared. He said something like ‘no way, really?’. I think the shark was probably following him since the bait kept falling into the ocean. The guys did not hook the shark. They wanted him to take the baited hook back out there. He said no. Good choice.
The moral of this story is to never underestimate what will happen if you enter the ocean with a bloody bait.
Until next time, happy reading.
Have you had an encounter with a shark? If so, let’s hear your story. And I’m not talking about at the dinner table. :)
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