Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shark on the Fly

After about two hours of nothing but a missed snapper that darted to my fly from under a wreck caught up in some mangroves, I decided to check out some coastline a bit farther north-east that I had spotted on google earth earlier in the day.

Upon arriving, I hiked out to a rocky outcropping a hundred yards or more off shore. The wind prevented me from doing anything but casting in one directions, so after 10 casts or so, I dejectedly waded back to shore and hiked farther north along the shoreline.

I was walking under a dead tree limb when I spotted movement a few feet off shore. A shark was cruising the shoreline looking for something to eat. I had on a 16lb fluorocarbon bonefish leader with a wire tippet section connected to a gray Clouser. The shark was 10ft from shore and on the 2nd cast and strip he turned and engulfed the fly. I set the hook, incredulous that I had a shark on the end of my fly rod and whooped it up as she made one short, fast run, leapt out of the water and death-rolled to try to shake the hook.

I didn't have a camera so I called my girlfriend to borrow a car and bring hers to where I was. I brought the shark in close, tightened the drag, and began to follow her wherever she wanted to go with just enough pressure to keep the hook in her jaw. I didn't want to tire her out, but I knew she had to keep water flowing over her gills to breathe. She led me about 200 yards down the beach, gently swimming against the pressure I was applying.

Stacy arrived in about 6 minutes. I tailed the shark with one hand, dropped the rod into the water and grabbed her behind the head with my other. The muscular movment of a shark in your hand is unlike any other fish. They are stronger than you would think and can just about twist around to bite near their own tail faster than anyone can move their hands. Luckily, their skin is rough and easy to grip.

Tailing her...
Firm grip behind the head...
Find those damn forceps...

Retrieving the fly with all of your fingers intact...

First grip-and-grin of the BVI.

Pretty sure this is a juvenile Caribbean Reef Shark.

Time for the release.

Gray Clouser + Steel Leader


Adam said...

Very Nice Matt! About damn time too. I love the last pic...time to put that baby back on the vise and give it some TLC...either that or frame it, Haha!

Fishing Fury said...

Nicely done!