Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 9:12 am | Fog/Mist 53º


Captain’s Log: Thresher Sharks Aboard the WaveWalker

Acting on a hunch, this charter captain took a group of passengers in search of late-season thresher sharks. A group of three hopefuls from the San Fernando Valley area came aboard, we stowed their gear, baited up with live anchovies and ran downcoast, readying the big guns along the way.

Watching bird and sea mammal activity, I knew we were into an area with plenty of schools of baitfish, beginning at Carpinteria and extending to my destination off of the rock island near La Conchita. I throttled back and the boat slid to a stop in 60 feet of water about 150 yards off the rock island.

My crew member, Capt. Tiffany Vague, baited one rig with a mackerel, one rig with a jacksmelt and one rig with four anchovies on a large hook. She stacked the water column with baits at three depths and busied someone working a Sabiki rig to catch more bait. We waited ...

After a very short wait of maybe 20 minutes, one of the reels screamed suddenly as a thresher shark picked up the anchovy baits and swam off. Capt. Tiffany showed the person how to set that hook hard, and the battle was on.

After a minute, that magnificent beast launched itself into the air and splashed down angrily. A moment later the line went slack because the shark busted the 80-pound line, probably with its vicious tail, which is likened to a swinging a brick on a rope.

We re-baited and waited. About 45 minutes later, another reel screamed and the angler set the hook hard. A long, tense moment went by and then the hook pulled free. So once again, we re-baited and waited.

The third time was indeed a charm, and the shark was battled and brought aboard, where Capt. Tiffany pounced on it and pinned it to the deck until it calmed down (her favorite thing to do is wrestle sharks on deck). She steaked it out for the excited anglers.

Then we made a run to a structure spot I know of and finished the day catching limits of rockfish (such as red snapper).

— 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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