I was randomly reminded of a fishing trip I took many years back, and I just had to share it. A little forewarning, the story might be somewhat violent and graphic. So, if you’re having a good day and don’t want to ruin it, it’s probably best to just skip this article.
My my father, brother, and I went deep sea fishing on a chartered boat with at least 40 other people. The boat left out of Freeport, Texas and it took approximately 4-5 hours just to arrive at our destination. I found me a nice spot near the back of the boat. The deck hands gave everyone a rod and reel, as well as a bucket full of dead squid, fish, and some other indistinguishable items. We dropped lines, hooked a few snapper, or perhaps something else, and would stand elbow to elbow with other “anglers” and enjoy the day. The trip was going well until I hooked a shark. I don’t recall what species it was, but I do recall the horrifying incident that unraveled shortly after landing the gorgeous predator.
Being only a kid at the time and not having any personal fishing gear on the boat, I didn’t want to mess with the shark or risk damaging the fishing rig provided by the boat crew. So, I called a deck hand over to help me get the shark off the hook. He grabbed the four foot long shark with hook attached to a long pole and hauled it on board. I watched in amazement as this beautiful creature glistened in the sunlight. The deck hand grabbed some pliers, removed the hook, and told me I was “good to go”. Assuming the deck hand was going to throw the shark back, I thought nothing of it and proceeded to bait my hook.
Then, as I’m bending over to get new bait I hear a very loud thud. I turn around to see the deck hand slinging the shark around by its tail, and slamming its head on the deck of the boat. I immediately dropped my equipment and shouted, “what the heck are you doing?”. He told me that the sharks were a nuisance and ate everyone’s fish as they were reeling them in. I told him that I didn’t care and to stop, but it was too late. Blood was already coming out of the shark, though I couldn’t see from where, and the deck hand through the shark back into the ocean. Completely horrified, I set my equipment down and made my way back up to the upper deck where all of my belongings were located. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. My dad and brother quickly followed me up to the upper deck and we all proceeded to question how anyone could do such a terrible thing.
Fortunately, the trip was almost over. The captain announced for everyone to bring in their lines and we picked up anchor and made the 4+ hour trip back to Freeport. This was the first and last time I even went on a chartered deep sea fishing trip. What started out as a promising bonding experience between a father and his two sons, turned into a horrifying experience that has stuck with me for years. I’m sure this activity still goes on during every trip a shark is caught, and that’s what scariest of all.