Searching for Jaws

3 Min Read

If you ever find yourself concerned your kids are spending too much time indoors, I would suggest taking them shark hunting.

“So, this guy’s gonna provide barrels and a harpoon gun?”

My son’s question about our fishing guide providing the instruments to beach a leviathan told me that everything my son knew about shark fishing had come from the movie Jaws. I take full responsibility for this as Jaws is one of my favorite films and I force him to watch it with me at least once a year. In that 1975 classic, the character of Quint – based on legendary shark fisher Frank Mundus – tries to bring to bay a gigantic man-eating shark by plugging it with a harpoon. Our guide, I explained to Barrett en route to Rockport, Texas, would have us utilize rod and reel instead. 

Although not Quint, the guide that I’d hired as a present for my son’s 16th birthday was nonetheless a character. I’d fished with him twice before and each time had to swear that I’d not use his real name in print. He asks this because he, “didn’t need any more business than I already got” and is often criticized for targeting sharks.

“I fish mostly catch and release n’ only bring in maybe one or two sharks a year for food. When I do the folks on the docks act like I’ve committed murder. They assumed I poached the shark and that I plan on selling the fins on the black market.”

Captain Ronny (again, not his real name) also says that people get angry with him when he explains that he only fishes the bay for sharks.

“They either don’t believe that sharks live there, or they think that I somehow bring them in. Wade fisherman especially don’t like to hear that I catch six to ten foot sharks in the three feet deep water they’re wading for trout.”

Well, in their defense, who would want to hear that?

Barrett and I met Capt. Ronny just before six on what promised to be a cloudy and windy day. We loaded out gear into the Cap’s 24-foot-long Blazer Waypoint Marine boat and headed out into the two-foot chop. We came to the edge of a sandbar that stood just four feet below the surface and the Cap declared, “Let’s give this spot a go.” Capt. Ronny showed Barrett how to bait our rigs with dead skipjack and mullet respectively then threw them into the drift.

“What do we do now?” Barrett asked of the captain.

“We wait!”

During this time Capt. Ronny shared with us his many ailments all of which he had received during the five years since I’d last fished with him.

“I put a stingray barb through this finger…Got nailed by a killer bee right here between the eyes. My head swelled so much I went blind for several hours…I got the flesh-eating bacteria on this hand. The antibiotics they gave me damn near killed me. Made me sick as a dog…Had to get this knee replaced. I tried waiting out Hurricane Harvey.  Huge mistake. The winds tore the roof off my garage. I ran out to move my Dually. The wind caught me and suddenly there was 300 pounds of crap flying through the yard – ME! Storm dropped me 180 yards later. Shattered me kneecap on impact…Dropped a metal grinder I’d taken the guard off of on my foot while wearing Crocs instead of boots. Tore through me almost to the bone. Cut tendons. Thought they’d have to take my foot off.”

With stories like this, maybe this guy was Quint after all.

By Gayne Young

Author Gayne C. Young is an Editor-at-Large and regular contributer to Field Ethos. He is the author of And Monkeys Threw Crap At Me: Adventures in Hunting, Fishing, and Writing, Texas Safari: The Game Hunters Guide To Texas, Sumatra, The Tunnel, Bug Hunt, Teddy Roosevelt: Sasquatch Hunter, Vikings: The Bigfoot Saga, and more. In January 2011, Gayne C. Young became the first American outdoor writer to interview Russian Prime Minister, and former Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Visit Gayne at his Amazon page.

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