Thursday, January 18 , 2018, 5:50 pm | Fair 62º


Captain’s Log: Local Charter Boat Has Encounter With 12-foot Great White Shark

On a fishing charter out of Santa Barbara Harbor, Capt. Tony Vultaggio on Rock Steady took his passengers down off of Carpinteria and Rincon.

The target was rockfish (like red snapper and copper rockfish), and the fishing was going well with people reeling up various species of rockfish at a pleasing clip.

Two times in rapid succession, rods suddenly bent deeply, when fish were being reeled up and the hooks were empty, even though fishers knew there had been rockfish on the hooks.

Then the vigilant skipper noticed a large shape below the boat and recognized it as a white shark just as it made a turn and took another rockfish off someone’s line.

That fish may have poked the shark in the mouth with its spines because the shark spit it out. Due to an air-filled swim bladder, the fish floated to the surface.

Capt. Tony said, “Everyone watch that fish!”

That allowed all aboard to witness the shark come straight up — with its huge mouth gaping and those black eyes looking forward — engulf that rockfish and head back to the depths.

Capt. Tony later said, “By measuring the length of that white shark, tip to tip across the stern of my boat, I’d put it at 12 feet long. It was girthy and impressive.”

One thing about going fishing in the ocean — you never know quite what you might encounter. This charter group and crew has a wild memory for life.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit 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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