PORT ARTHUR — Sharks have been in the news lately. From Florida being listed as the number one shark attack location to a beautiful surfer/model free-diving with great whites they have been everywhere in the media.
I have had many shark encounters, two of which I would like to share with you today.
One of my personal favorite encounter happened in the Chandeleur Islands back in the summer of 1999.
I was fishing off the shores of Breton Island with Capt. George Knighten when a school of mullet in front of us went from being nervous to completely freaking out. They leapt in every direction away from something that looked to be about two and half feet long and stirring in the water below.
Knighten who was wading ahead of me, chunked his Mirrolure Top Dog toward the fracas fully expecting to catch a big sow speck.
What he got instead was a massive blowup from a juvenile blacktip. At that time, Top Dogs were hot commodities so he wanted to reel the fish in and retrieve his plug.
However, the shark had other ideas easily snapping the line with its sharp sandpaper skin and quickly darting back into the small channel along the island.
Two days later just before we were headed back to the mainland, Knighten and I found ourselves wading the exact same stretch of shoreline, this time catching a nice bunch of specks.
As we plugged away, Knighten hollered “shark” as a blacktip tugged at his stringer, making an easy meal of the trout.
“You’re not going to believe this,” he said.
“This is the same blacktip I lost here two days ago.”
“How do you know,” I asked.
“My plug is still in its mouth!”
Whether that shows the species is territorial or not is debatable but it definitely illustrates a dogged determination that is seeing this valuable species come hold its own while others dwindle away.