Author: David Sobiek
Please let me preface this by saying this is my opinion, so if you agree with me great, if not, I’m sure you have your own beliefs and reasons.
Now, to start this off, I feel that there are three sides to this whole thing. First, you have the avid shark fisherman who absolutely loves the sport and puts his heart and soul into it. With this I’m not saying only the sport itself but a love for the animals as well. Next you have all the people who want to become a part of land based shark fishing, but don’t exactly have the means or the know how to properly fish. Finally you have the last group, the ones who only view us as savages killing every shark we see and constantly hurting the population of more threatened species. If you take all three of these groups and lay them on a line, everyone falls on a different point. The difficult part seems to be getting people on the same page and understanding that shark fishing and tagging can be enjoyable and beneficial. So how do we do that? Let’s take the groups and talk about what we can do.
If you lean to the side of avid shark fisherman, I feel it’s our job to help newer fisherman and teach them the right way of doing things. If we don’t do this they will just keep learning on their own and make the same mistakes that cost sharks lives and ultimately give die hard fisherman such as ourselves the black eye. Examples include using multiple hooks on a bait, using way undersized tackle or most common the proper handling of sharks. If we fail to do this, I feel that we will continue to sink deeper and deeper into unwanted attention from media.
Now if you fall towards the middle, the person who wants to become better at shark fishing and doesn’t know how, it’s your job to seek advice. Keep trying to learn. There have been multiple times that I’ve given advice to people who want to catch a shark. If there isn’t anyone to get advice from, go onto forums and learn the different methods of fishing. Learn how to handle these animals and release them safely. Especially the people who know nothing of the sport, do your research before you just go try. Its very damning to our sport when someone grabs a shark by the gills and picks it up to take a picture and instantly posts it to social media. This is where I believe the most negativity originates besides fishing in the middle of the day on a crowded beach. All of these things just feed the fire of those who feel shark fishing is terrible.
This brings me to the last category. The people who think we are savages killing sharks. Sadly I don’t have much advice for them aside from take the time to look into shark fishing. There is more to it than the skin deep social media picture of a shark dead on the beach or the picture of someone actually killing a shark to eat. Besides, that is the reason you have regulations. You can only keep certain species and only certain sizes. As long as someone is with in those bounds, there is no difference in shark fishing and any other type of fishing or hunting.
In the end I feel that this comes down to knowledge or lack there of. Before instantly hopping on the bandwagon of hating shark fisherman learn something and talk to them if your on the beach. To date out of 4 years of shark fishing I’ve only had 1 bad encounter on the beach and that’s because a tourist told be I was fishing illegally and called the cops on me. Other than that I educate and explain to people what I do and why I do it.
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