Thursday, October 8, 2009

Free-Gaffed Giant Mako Shark - Field and Stream Weighs In

The venerable Field and Stream Magazine weighed in on the issue of a recently free gaffed breeding aged Mako shark in part due to coverage from Peter Thomas at the L.A Times:

Okay. I'm about to get a little rowdy. This week, someone forwarded me a news article about a 748-pound mako shark caught in South Florida. My initial thought was "there's been a lot bigger caught this year," but I checked it out anyway. After watching the video below and reading the story, I have decided that these guys deserve the title of "Most Amateur Idiots on the Water." See for yourself. They didn't "catch" anything. They free-gaffed a hot mako.

What surprises me most is how fast the local news jumped to glorify these guys. The line that sums up the mentality of this crew is when "fisherman" Jamie Bunn says, "I vividly remember the quote 'we might as well gaff this thing, someone's dying today.'" Dude, you are an inspiration to anglers everywhere. Good work. I'm not the only one who thinks this whole dog-and-pony show is a disgrace. And guess what? This may have been illegal.

From the Los Angles Times:

Florida anglers are being sharply criticized after apparently free-gaffing a 748-pound mako shark while fishing this week off South Florida...

Making note that no rods or reels appear to have been used in the capture of the mako, at least one shark conservation website claimed the anglers were in violation of state and federal law and implied it would follow through with authorities...

I've mentioned in the past that I'm very into shark fishing. Standards in practice when doing so is to have a rigged pitch-bait ready to go in case a fish shows up right behind the boat. This mako was eating a dead swordfish and these guys had plenty of stout rods onboard. So why not cut a piece of the sword, rig a rod, pitch it over and put your back into it for a couple hours?

Then my hat would have been off to you. Not too mention, free-gaffing a fish like that is asking for death, lost appendages, or at least some boat damage. Genius. -- JC

Editors Note: It is notable that Field and Stream Magazine and a series of fishing news outlets have all condemned this catch, showing industry leadership, kudos.

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