Hilton Head’s “shark whisperer” Chip Michalove was scouting a brand new fishing spot a couple of miles off the coast Thursday and his expectations have been low for a catch, however a 12-foot nice white shark determined to double down.
“We tried a spot we’ve by no means tried earlier than and, earlier than we knew it, a white shark got here as much as the again of the boat and crushed two baits,” Michalove mentioned.
The one different particular person on the boat was Michalove’s good friend, Hilton Head resident Pavel Vykopal, who has a rotator cuff damage from engaged on a roof and in the intervening time can use just one arm.
“What do you assume occurs after I’m undermanned? We occur upon the biggest fish of the season,” Michalove mentioned Friday morning. “Lo and behold, the biggest shark of the season, and it’s simply me and a man with a wounded wing.”
The 2 males, with solely three arms working between them, reeled within the greater than 1,000-pound apex predator with two rods because it had taken each baits. It took about 25 minutes.
“She was an excellent match for us,” Michalove mentioned.
Outcast Sport Fishing’s constitution boat captain photographed the facet of the shark’s face that was coated with scratches from a seal it had eaten beforehand earlier than he tagged and launched it.
Michalove works with biologist Greg Skomal and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to tag the sharks he catches. The tags give researchers perception about the place sharks spend their time and solutions a mess of questions on how they reside.
Till Michalove began catching nice whites in 2014, there wasn’t even proof they got here near Hilton Head.
The shark he caught Thursday now sports activities two completely different tags.
The primary, a satellite tv for pc tag concerning the dimension of a desk tennis ball, will monitor the shark for six months. When it pops off, it’s going to transmit its information and inform scientists not solely the place the shark went but in addition how deep and quick it swam.
The second tag, an acoustic tag concerning the dimension of a cigar, will ship out a warning if the shark comes too near the seashore in areas the place there are receivers offshore, similar to in Cape Cod.
There’s a third sort of tag that might have tracked the shark in real-time, sending information every time the shark got here near the floor. Michalove opted to not connect that tag this time as a result of he didn’t have sufficient folks on board.
We’re in concerning the center of the nice white season off the Lowcountry’s coast. Nice whites normally begin to present up off Hilton Head in early December as they migrate south to hotter water from the New England coast. This yr the season bought a late begin as a result of the waters off Cape Cod have been so heat.
Michalove mentioned it’s been a tricky winter for excellent white fishing.
“The climate’s been good, however the seas haven’t. It’s been tough daily,” he mentioned. And when the water has been calm sufficient, it at all times appeared to be raining.
Although typically Michalove finds himself slipping and sliding on an icy dock to get to his boat this time of yr, catching an important white makes the chilly mornings value it.
“I simply wished to see one nice white earlier than I died,” he mentioned. “I’ve landed 31, and I’ve hooked a bit of over 70.”