We pulled up before sunrise and waited in the rain for hours for over 400 people that were in front of us to check in. The skies were angry and we anticipated rain for the entire trip. The surf was nice, but we looked forward to it getting rough knowing that most of the people wouldn’t be comfortable in their kayaks in the heavier surf. The current was absolutely ripping and baits were reluctant to hold. Nevertheless, I ran them over and over again.
The first fish hit just as the rain stopped. It wasn’t what I was looking for, but I was happy to atleast put one on the catch log. The total length was 72” and it measured 59” to the fork.
I put another bait out on a short drop and sought refuge in the car from the rain. A little while later I thought I heard the clicker and rolled down the window, but when I did I didn’t hear anything. It was absolutely pouring, so I had to roll the windows back up. After a few minutes I felt the car make a couple hard jerks. I hopped out and the reel was screaming. I threw on the belt and harness and noticed that several hundred yards were missing from the reel. Of course now the rain stopped. I began to slowly crank in what felt like dead weight. It took forever to get the fish over the final bar, and when it did all I saw was white. The fish was foul hooked and had been brought in upside down and sideways. I got it in knee deep water and went for the tail. The fish came to life and as I noticed that the hook hadn’t even punctured the pectoral fin, it fell out. I dove on the shark and wrestled it out of the water. It taped out at 82.25” total and 67.25” to the fork. It was a nice bull, but I didn’t think much of it other than I needed a bigger fish to win or another one the same size to be in the running for most inches. Little did I know...
I continued to run baits over and over again all through the night and the following day, but the little piranhas had their way with them. I paddled til I literally rubbed the skin off my thumb, and then I paddled some more. Unfortunately that extra effort didn’t pay off. At sunset I headed back closer to base camp so I could be sure to make the catch-entry deadline. I made some new friends, cooked some good food, and eventually got some much needed rest.
I showed up at the awards ceremony and rumors were flying. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high, but it’s hard when everyone was telling me that I was in the money. The anticipation grew for several hours as I heard the names of everyone around me called to come accept their door prizes. When they finally announced the name of the 1st Place Winner for the Shark Division it was so surreal. I headed to the front of the crowd to accept a check for $15,000 as well as an X-Factor Kayak, an Avet EXW 80/2, a custom rod, and glass shark fin trophy. I can’t remember the last time I felt like catching a bull under 7ft was a good thing, but this was a great thing! Huge thank you to the Sharkathon staff and all of the sponsors for making this possible!