Wow what an eventful day we had yesterday! I had Oldfield Club member Nick Smilari and his son-in-law, Mike Mullen, out on an early morning fishing charter. Nick had caught a few tarpon with me last year and really wanted to get Mike on one. We caught bait quickly and went and set up on a spot where I had been seeing quite a few tarpon on the mid incoming tide during the previous days.
After about 40 minutes of fishing the left corner rod bows over hard and line begins peeling off the reel. A couple of minutes passed by without any jumps and we all assumed the fish on the other end of the line was a shark or a big sting ray but then, 50 ft behind the boat, an 80 lb tarpon erupts from the water…head shaking and gills rattling! A round of hoots and hollers rose from the boat as we watched the hooked tarpon cover about 50 yards in a series of jaw dropping aerial displays.
After the initial series of jumps Mike and the tarpon settle into a knock down drag out fight with each swapping who was loosing or gaining line on a regular basis. The battle goes on for 50 minutes before the tarpon appears to be loosing steam and ready to be brought to the leader and released. As the tarpon surfaces near the boat an 11 ft hammer head shark charges in from the depths and takes a swipe at the tarpon. The tarpon go ballistic trying to get away from its pursuer! With the hammer head hot on its tail the tarpon rushes at the boat. Just as it gets boat side the hammer head locks down on the tarpons tail. I reach down and with one hand grasping the tarpons jaw and the other under its gill plate attempt to lift the 80lb fish into the boat to save it from being eaten by the hammer head. Luckily the shark let go for a split second to get a better hold and I was able to snatch the fish over the side and into the deck of the boat.
With the tarpon lying in the cockpit of the boat I tell my clients to hang on as I gun the motors and rush approximately 500 yards away from the area where the shark was prowling. The ta
Wow! Awesome! Thanks.
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Good job guys, that’s a great story. That qualifies as national news worthy in my book. It’s so cool you pulled the fish in the boat and released him away from the shark!!! Totally excellent!!!
Carolina Skiff 25DLV
We have Hammerheads?
“In every species of fish I’ve angled for, it is the ones that have got away that thrill me the most, the ones that keep fresh in my memory. So I say it is good to lose fish. If we didn’t, much of the thrill of angling would be gone.” Ray Bergman
Most people would be scared to ever get in the water around here again if they truely knew what was out there.
Saw the same thing in ft Myers a few years ago.That tarpon was cut in half by a big Bull shark.
great story and release/// thanks for sharing! I quit “going for a quick dip” long time ago after I saw what hangs around looking for a meal
212 SEAHUNT CC
Sea Squirt 16
Nice fush yall. Crazy to see the hammerhead goin after her. Good save bro
WOW! Great story
2000 SeaPro 180CC w/ Yammy 115 2 stroke
1966 13’ Boston Whaler w/ Merc 25 4 stroke “Flatty”
Good thing that was a hammerhead instead of a great white, some folks here would dispute even with pictures!! Good job, great photos!!
Great Story! Thanks for sharing
Awesome read! Good on you for the aiding and abedding!
Having lived and fished Tampa Bay for more than 12 years I can testify that sharks are very much a part of Tarpon fishing in the area. We ran into Black Tips more than anything else but if anyone has fished Tampa Bay regularly they know the legend of “Old Hitler” a hammerhead that was reported to be in excess of 22’ and was quite fond of the Tarpon as well. Great story and great sense of conservation to “save” the fish
Dude you are a true american hero! Megalops props
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“Every saint has a past, every sinner a future”
Great report! BTW, I went to high school with your brother Max. Small world
Seen some big tigers on the reefs this summer and 2 monster. Hammers. I wonder if the hammers would be aggressive towards free divers? geuss you don’t know till its to late the tiger at 4ki had to be 14 ft and it was a very eerie feeling get back in the water to blast some spades after an hr of the visual
I’m so Charleston i got spanish moss on my balls!!