MAKO SHARK TRIP REPORT
CATALINA ISLAND, CALIFORNIA
I was sitting on the boat sweating bullets, not just from the heat but also because we had been chumming for over 6 hours and we still did not have any sharks. With pelagics, we normally start seeing sharks after about 3 hours of chumming, but today we had been waiting double the time and I was starting to think we were going to get skunked. Which was something I had trouble dealing with, we always come back with the story…always. I was in serious need of my shark mojo right now. This was a crappy way to kick off a mako trip. I was beginning to think that choosing Catalina Island over San Diego was a big mistake, and I was going to pay the price for it. In September of 2007 we visited Catalina Island on an exploratory trip and we had had an EPIC time with over 6 makos and one 10 foot blue. So I felt confident that we would have some great luck if I planned a trip out here. Maybe I was wrong?
My guests were all troopers and were in good spirits, laughing and talking amongst themselves in spite of not having any shark action. I was really anxious when we hit the seventh hour, I was just about to admit defeat. I decided to give the chum box one last hard shake before I called it a day, I grabbed the box and looked down into the water, there was this little fish following our box. I looked harder at it, not really knowing what it was. I asked my guests, “What is that?” I was not sure if it was a small cobia or a little barracuda? A few seconds later I realized it was a tiny mako shark.
I started throwing small scraps of fish in the water to give it something to chew on. The shark was too small to dive with, but I felt better about any shark showing up at that point. The thing is with makos, when one shark shows up, a second one always follows soon after. Thankfully today was no exception. Within five minutes, a second and much larger shark showed up. I threw in more scraps, trying to encourage it to stick around. My spirits lifted, I was still really good at my job.
Before long a third shark showed up and I started a 2 man rotation so that everyone had an opportunity to see the sharks. The first shark was a baby and decided to leave when the other 2 sharks showed up. They were bigger sharks and the little girl took off, out of fear I guess. It is always tough to decide when to put people in, all sharks are pretty skittish, but pelagic sharks are very skittish and will take off fast if they are spooked, regardless of how much bait is in the water. So I am always cautious about putting people in too quickly. We got lucky and both sharks were players and did not mind having 2 people in the water. So my guests were able to interact with these sharks and get some footage they were all happy with. I was stoked for them.
My favorite thing about taking people shark diving is listening to them when they climb back on the boat after their first solid encounter. The smiles and laughter is so amazing. I just love to hear them chatter away, talking about their experience. That is why I do what I do. I could be on a shark boat, and never get in the water, and have the greatest time, just listening to everyone else’s adventure. For me I have done it so many times, and I still get fired up when I get in the water, but I lost that first encounter feeling. So when I hear our guests just on fire inside, it gets me all fired up and excited too. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. You just can’t feel that good everyday!
A fourth shark showed up and ruined it for the rest of us. It was much larger than the other two sharks and decided to chase them away and claim the area. What was worse was that this new shark did not like us in the water and decided to leave, so within 5 minutes of the fourth shark showing up, we lost all our sharks just that quick. We called it a day, and I was pretty happy that we tallied up 4 sharks for our first day in the water. We motored back to port, all of us talking away. We watched a perfect sunset, everyone was happy, and life was good - we had a great day on the water, everyone was coming home safe and with footage and photos, and I was stoked that my shark mojo was still working great... Livin' the Dream!
Day 2...ok I admit we did get skunked this day, but it was not my fault. The weather was picture perfect and flat as a pancake, with no wind and no current. Our chum just hung there, it did not float away or distribute well.
Day 3... our final day in the water, we had 4 makos and one blue shark show up. A great way to end our adventure. I am looking forward to next season and more craziness.
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