Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sharks from the Beach

I was out for a morning walk along Myrtle Beach, picking up a few sharks teeth here and there when I noticed a guy fighting a good fish in the surf about a hundred yards up the beach from me.  So, I thought I'd wander up and watch the action.  Tommy Fox, from Richmond, Kentucky, was doing a fine job fighting a big fish.  He patiently let it take line on it's runs, worked the surf nicely to aid in getting the fish closer each wave, all the while keeping pressure on the fish.  After a while, it showed up in the swash zone and appeared to be about a three to four foot long shark. 

Tommy Fox, from Richmond, Kentucky, with a dandy shark.
It appears to be a bonnethead shark, related to the hammerheads.
As it turns out, he landed a pretty cool looking shark, a bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo), cousin to the great hammerhead shark. At least I think it was a bonnethead.  If the head wasn't so rounded, then I'd say it could be a juvenile scalloped hammerhead, and it still could be.  I didn't get a close look at it really, there were lots of people gathering around, walking in front of me shooting the video and taking pics.  Nonetheless, it was a fun time watching him fight and land this shark.  It must have been a thrill for him too, not only drawing a crowd, but just to have something big like that in the surf!  This shark grows to about a maximum of four feet, so what Tommy caught was an adult fish, and a good one too since it was at the upper end of it's size range.

He caught the shark using squid, saying it's tougher than shrimp and stays on the hook better.  He's absolutely right about that.  I used to fish at Ocean City, Maryland off the piers along the Isle of Wight Bay and using white twister tails for anything that would choose to bite, especially tasty summer founder.  Toothy snapper blues would bite the tails off the plastic grubs, leaving me with a grub body and a jighead.  So, we found the perfect trailer to be squid, for just that reason, it's tough.  And, what you don't use you can fry up at home as calamari! Yuck...I can't get into eating bait...well, shrimp is another story. 

Here's Tommy sporting the rod and reel combo that he used
to land nearly a four foot cousin of the hammerhead shark.
Hopefully this photo won't give away his spot!  Sorry Tommy!
He hadn't been there for more than five or ten minutes when the fiesty elasmobranch bit down on his calamari offering.  The water seemed pretty clear, and with light winds blowing from the Northwest, the water was as smooth as glass out there.  When I first walked out to the beach, I wondered if it would be a good day to fish.  Tommy proved me right!

Congratulations Tommy for a job well done.  That's a big fish for light tackle in the surf!

Here's more information on the bonnethead: http://www.fishbase.us/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?genusname=Sphyrna&speciesname=tiburo

Another link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonnethead

Here's a video of him landing the shark:


Anonymous said...

Awesome Tommy! Way to represent Richmond!!


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