Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 9:14 pm | Fair 62º


Captain”s Log: Hammerhead Sharks Liven up the SoCal Bight

Hammerhead sharks have a particularly nasty disposition, and they seem to bite things for pretty much the same reason a person climbs a mountain … because it is there.

That is fine when they are hundreds of miles south of here in their usual haunts, but over the course of this multi-year El Nino, they are here where their nasty dispositions are up close and personal for us. 

There have been some incidents including divers getting bit in the leg and fish lost to the toothy predators.

Some folks have given up swimming and diving, especially at the Channel Islands, until these sharks with oddly-shaped heads go back home far to the south.

Hammerheads seem to school up and forage together much more than white sharks, which are often solitary creatures when they hunt.

Schooling hammerheads who detect food in the water are a dangerous bunch. 

At times, they are a game-changer for fishing boats.

A customer of my bait & tackle shop (Hook, Line & Sinker on Calle Real in Santa Barbara) told me about a group of hammerheads aggressively patrolling in front of Pyramid Cove at San Clemente Island, and boats pretty much had to move away to fight fish without shark incident.

We’ve had similar situations play out here at Santa Cruz and Anacapa islands.

National Weather Service people have some nice graphs that show we are past El Nino and into La Nina, and of course I wouldn’t argue with those weather professionals.

We’ve got trigger fish, yellowtail, tuna, marlin and hammerhead sharks in our waters, which don’t yet see things the same ways.

These are our El Nino fish and they are still here, so speaking only for myself, I’ll accept that El Nino is over when our El Nino fish go home

 I can wait and I’m in no hurry because we’ve been having a blast with these pelagic visitors and I’d enjoy a few more tasty meals first.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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