Updated: Sep 11, 2018
My journey in the world Land Based Shark Fishing began five years ago on Nantucket, rather unexpectedly.
I grew up in Connecticut with a pond in my backyard, loaded with bass, so my fishing addiction began at a young age. I transitioned into stripers and blues, fly fishing, spearfishing, traveling, and studied Biology in college. From there I then landed a job on the water with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and later obtained my captains license. After four summers fishing haibut and salmon in Alaska and winters fishing South Florida and the Caribbean, I took a job on Nantucket.
I was out surf casting for bluefish on the eastern shore of the island in mid-July. I had a big blue on the line and was attempting to land it in the wash when out of nowhere a giant brown shark darts in and chomps it in half, right in front of me. Shocked and intrigued, I quickly grabbed some wire leader and the biggest hook I had in my tackle box, tied up a makeshift rig, and tossed the bloody bluefish head back out there. Sure enough, two minutes later the shark came back and took the bait. The next hour was the most exciting fishing experience of my life, long hard runs, crashing waves and violent headshakes as the shark ran me up and down the beach. There was quite a crowd drawn to the situation by the time the shark was in close enough to land.
“ It’s hard to describe what goes through your head the first time you land a big shark .”
Basically, you’re dealing with an angry 200+ pound fish equipped with hundreds of razor sharp teeth, thrashing around in unpredictable waves. My only logical solution was to wait for some calm water, aim for the tail, grab a hold of it and hope for the best… which happened to work out pretty well for me on this particular day. My opponent was an 8’ female sandbar shark. After some quick photos, I removed the hook and set her free. Someone from the crowd had videoed the ordeal, and apparently sent it over to the local newspaper that night.
The next week was a blur...
A bystander submitted the video to the local newspaper, who posted it on their website. Half an hour later, my phone starts ringing off the hook… Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, CNN, Inside Edition; almost every major news outlet wanted an interview. News crews flew out that night, then I traveled around the country for a few days doing over 80 interviews as the clip racked up millions of hits. Looking back on it close to a thousand sharks later, it wasn’t a particularly epic catch, but it certainly opened a lot of doors for me in the fishing community.
Over the last five years I’ve been able to transition my career into basically shark fishing full time, working with tagging organizations, seminars, social media, photo shoots, filming, and charters.