Thursday, October 21, 2010

Perspective - A hen in the hand...

Last week had one of those sultry days when bright fall colors and cobalt blue skies meet for a last reminder of the summers past and winters to come.

On the Fall river spawning rainbows are bewildered by the abundant late fall hatch. Massive plumes of midges, duns, and mahogany caddis fill the air carpeting the waters surface.

This is feeding time for the rivers largest trout as they fatten up for winter.

Their selectiveness is legendary.

It was into this late fall scene that I arrived with my trusty 5wt rod and some time to reflect on the past year at Shark Diver while discovering a pristine and wild river with its huge trout.

Our 2010 white shark season has been flawless.

The crew of the MV Horizon, Martin Graf, Spencer, Chef Mark and Captain Greg Grivetto have once again introduced divers from all over the planet to the rare and exciting world of the great white shark.

These guys are the premier team at Isla Guadalupe and our divers have been thrilled.

I am always impressed by shark crews who balance excitement with learning, educating divers to come away with a better understanding of the dive site and the animals we work with. We're here ultimately to create advocates for sharks and it's something dive operations manager Martin Graf excels naturally at each and every year.

I was thinking about the 2010 shark season as I watched a three pound hen in a deep feeding lane sip rust colored mayflies from the surface. She was a real looker and I decided to present my best fly to her in the hopes of a splashy surface take. She was not amused and after 7-8 drifts I knew this was going to be a longer romance.

Our film and television side was busy again this year. We just wrapped a shoot with CNN in the Bahamas last month and I am happy to say it was an A-list event. The crew we put together was one of the best I have worked with in a long while. Shooting sharks is no easy task as the shoot we put together this spring with AT and T showed us, sharks have to be in the mood first. Many thanks to Scotty and the first rate boat crew from the MV Kate.

If you're doing shark productions in the Bahamas these are the guys to go with, it's why we work with them.

Back at the Fall river I was in perfect form. The big hen I had my eye on was finally paying attention to the small rust colored caddis I was drifting past her, alternately rushing the fly and then dancing away to return to her feeding lane. It reminded me of this springs white shark adventures in New Zealand and fishing on the Oreti River with good friend Steve Blair.

That was an adventure.

Without a doubt the time I spent on New Zealand's South Island with the 12 white sharks that visited us during that two week stretch was one of the highlights of my professional career. This site is truly one of the last great white shark sites on the planet, the sharks here are not fussy, not like the hen I was trying to entice on the Fall river last week.

The take was almost anti-climatic, the hen gently sipped my fly from the surface and I almost missed the set, but set I did and she took off up stream in a screaming run that took me down to my backing. When a trout this large runs, you run, and I soon found myself stumbling over sunken logs, rock drops, and weed lines in a desperate line retrieving gallop. This old gal knew all the tricks but I have been fly fishing for the past decade so I knew a few as well.

We ended this battle as all good trout battles do with a slide into a soft net, a quick de-hook and a few admiring pictures. She was resuscitated and sent back to her gin clear home waters to continue her magnificent life.

For me, it's the closeout of 2010, the last few shark trips to Isla Guadalupe, and on to 2011 with Tiger sharks and celebrating a decade in the shark diving business. Back in 2001 when I purchased the url and built two titanic shark cages I had no idea of the ride I was strapping myself into.

Here's to new adventures and to some perspective. Time spent on the river always delivers both for me and good things always come out of it.

Patric Douglas CEO

The Demons of Durban - Part I

From the Team Rebel Fishing Blog.

Today's land based shark fishing is 99% catch, tag, and release.

This was not always the case and this week the TRS blog launched a multi-part expose on land based shark fishing roots.

The Demons of Durban

Early in the twentieth century, in a town which is now known internationally for its history of violent shark attacks, a group of men would fish on the legendary South jetty on the edge of the shipping and whaling lanes for grunters and various other pan fish for table fare. But over the course of the years during the South African whaling season, the anglers would constantly see large numbers of massive sharks that entered the lanes to feast upon the whales scraps that were useless to the whalers, and tossed aside into the harbor's dead end.

Every year between May 1st and September 30th, the jetty would be littered with the anglers of the Durban Shark Club, for the sole fact that this was the time period allotted for hunting the Baleen whales that migrated down the African coast. When the whalers would arrive back to port with their catches in tow, the sharks would be nipping at the heels of the boats and their prize harvest.

Many account have even recorded that up till the moment the entire whale carcass was drug up the whaling chute, that there were Zambezi (Bull) sharks, hanging onto the carcass until the last possible moment to get one last chunk of the rich blubbery flesh before they awaited the return of the next whaler in the fleet.

Complete Post.

Breast Implants and Sharks...and has CSI jumped the shark?

Got an email from David Shiffman over at the Southern Fried Science Blog today taking about the long running television series CSI. A recent episode featured a supposed Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) munching on a hotel raver in a Las Vegas wading pool.

A freshwater pool.

The video lead in featured all 17 varieties of breast implants, a few vacuous looking extras dancing to a terrible techno beat, a shark researcher in a chain mail suit, and oh yeah, an actual shark attack.

If David is asking for industry opinions on television shows that jump the shark, we would suggest that all the elements are in play for this shows jump, actually leap, into the fine world of Fonzie's last stunt to long running series irrelevance.

Watch the video:

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and The Humane Society of the United States team up with the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative For Historic Campaign

What began as a conservation concept generated by the commercial shark diving industry, in reaction to gravid Tiger sharks being taken in the Bahamas for a few images and a pair of jaws, has, in the hands of a skilled and dedicated team - become a full blown reality.

Welcome to The Shark-Free Marina Initiative.

10.20.2010 — Beginning in October, the Shark-Free Marina Initiative will embark on itʼs largest membership campaign throughout the United States and the Bahamas in order to save sharks. Sharks are disappearing from our oceans at an alarming rate. Therefore, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States, and various other organizations have teamed up with the Shark-Free Marina Initiative (SFMI) for a singular, historic purpose: to reduce worldwide shark mortality. SFMI certifies sport fishing and resort marinas as ʻShark-Freeʼ thereby prohibiting any shark from being landed at their dock. The SFMI team is being advised by Dr. Bob Hueter, Director of Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory and John Le Coq, co-founder of Fishpond USA.

“SFMI works directly with the recreational and commercial fishing community to send a clear message,” says Luke Tipple, Managing Director and SFMI founder. “As shark populations are decimated on a global scale we as a species are obligated to pay attention and reduce our wasteful destruction of these incredibly important animals.”

Dr. Guy Harvey, Founder of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, supports SFMI with more than just words.”We put our money where our mouth is,” says Dr. Harvey.”Our Big Game Fishing Marina is completely shark free. No caught sharks can be landed here.” Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president, The Humane Society of the United States, enthusiastically supports the SFMI campaign. According to Dr. Grandy: “Although shark finning and commercial fishing are responsible for the majority of worldwide shark mortality figures, this campaign to encourage hundreds of marinas to
go shark free can save tens of thousands of sharks each year and change perceptions about this much maligned creature.”

Some very important and influential celebrity spokespeople are also teaming up with SFMI. Fashion photographer and Americaʼs Next Top Model judge Nigel Barker feels strongly that we all have to speak out for sharks. “There are many good fishermen out there who respect the oceans and know that in order to preserve their way of life for future generations we all need to be more aware of our actions and the results they may cause.”

Slash, legendary guitarist and founding member of Guns & Roses and Velvet Revolver adds, “It is important to me as a father and concerned human being, that we do all we can to address the wasteful destruction of these amazing and important animals. We must ensure that sharks are around for future generations.”

Shark-Free Marinas has a message that is being heard worldwide. Tipple summarizes “Shark overfishing is a serious problem which threatens the very health of our oceans. Itʼs time to take a stand and set an example of sensible conservation that can be globally respected and repeated. There is a solution, and it starts at our marinas."

About The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States is the nationʼs largest animal protection organization – backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the web at

About fishpond:
fishpond is a worldwide brand of products designed and manufactured for fishing and outdoor enthusiasts. fishpond was created with the philosophy that innovation, design and a responsibility towards the environment from which we draw our inspiration is critical to our success.