Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thinking about Shark Week

I've been enjoying Shark Week on the Discovery channel this week. It got me thinking to how I first became interested in sharks.

In the mid 1960's my Mother and I had gone for a walk and stopped to rummage through a bookstore. There was an enormous selection of old National Geographic magazines on sale for 3 for a quarter. I begged a quarter from my Mom and shot off to pick out my three issues!

Delving through the stacks of magazines I came across the very one Chief Brody is leafing through in the film Jaws. When I saw the painting of the white shark attacking the lobster fisherman's dory that appears in the film I was hooked!

Then in 1971 Peter Gimbel released the documentary Blue Water White Death which chronicled his search for the Great White shark. Blue Water, White Death: Peter Gimbel, Ron Taylor, Valerie Taylor, Stan Waterman: Movies & TV

I pestered my Dad to take me to see it. I remember he was none to pleased when he found the theater had hiked up the usual ticket prices for this movie!

Watching that film I thought I had died and gone to heaven! No one had ever filmed White sharks underwater before. That film blew me away.

Around that same time my Dad bought me a copy of "Sportfishing for Sharks" which was written by Capt. Frank Mundus. Mundus coined the phrase " Monster Fishing " to describe this new sport.

Then in 1974 I coerced my Dad to take me to see the self proclaimed " Monster Man " Frank Mundus give a lecture on shark fishing.

After his talk I got Mundus to autograph my copy of his book!

That same year my Mom mentioned my love of sharks to a co worker who owned his own boat and often did offshore fishing. He agreed to take my Dad and I out for the day.

I remember first laying eyes on his 23 foot boat and wishing it were bigger! It was a windy day and the choppy water inshore grew to fairly large swells as we headed 40 miles offshore.

No sooner did we start drifting and chumming then my Dad who was prone to getting seasick turned green as a gill and laid down in the cabin.

When the drag of the reel screamed to announce the strike of the first shark my Dad dragged himself back on deck to watch me land a 5 ft Brown shark.

Sick as he was he watched us measure, then tag and release the shark. At which point he promptly added his breakfast to the chum slick and then crashed back onto the bunk in the cabin.

I caught a second Brown shark soon after but nothing will ever replace landing that first shark and seeing it close up!

Getting back to Mundus if you notice he autographed my book twice! I finally got to fish with him out of Montauk aboard his boat the Cricket II in 2005. Fishing with him was a treat! To say he was a character would be putting it mildly! He regaled us with his great stories and shared his scrap book of photos with us.

To celebrate Shark week I'm having a sale on my Shark and Nautical sculptures at my Etsy shop. Use the coupon code SHARKWEEK201 at checkout to get 30% off the purchase price! : Mako Shark OOAK Sculpture by BlacknickSculpture on Etsy