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Shark Fishing Anna Maria Island

Sharks have fascinated me my entire life. In fact, before moving to Anna Maria Island, I remember as a kid being terrified of taking a bath out of fear that a shark would somehow manage to swim from the ocean, to Ohio, up the drain, and right into the bath tub before devouring me whole; and it seems I'm not alone given the raging popularity of Shark Week on the Discovery channel (okay, you're right, I probably was alone in the bathtub fear). That fascination isn't just unique to Americans though, as I learned this past week.

Hans and his family were over here on vacation from Switzerland and wanted to go on a fishing charter. We had a mutual friend and decided to spend a day on the water. But to them, fishing in the ocean meant shark fishing which didn't dawn on me until they seemed mildly bored with some of the keeper trout we were catching (thankfully I always have a boatload of corny jokes at my disposal which helps in these situations). One of the boys, Lucas, teased his younger brother about throwing him into the water to swim with the sharks. The younger brother just scoffed back at him, "Obviously there's no sharks in here or else we would be catching them."

A light bulb went off.

I asked if they wanted to catch a shark and before I could finish the sentence a resounding yes echoed from the boat with the kids beginning to jump up and down out of excitement.

At this moment, I was disappointed in myself. I always make a point of asking my clients what it is that they would like to fish for, but on this day I had just assumed (yes, I know what happens when you assume) that they wanted to target the standard inshore game fish: trout, snook, and redfish. Most locals see sharks as a pest so it hadn't even crossed my mind that to these kids a shark would be the coolest thing they could haul in.

Without wasting any time, I went to the fishbox and grabbed one of the keeper trout we had, cut it in half, slapped it on the shark rod, and threw it into the water. Within twenty-five minutes we had already lost two sharks and were fighting the third. The boat was a madhouse: the kids were hooting and hollering as Hans took turns with Lucas fighting the shark as hard as they could. Fifteen minutes later, they had landed their first shark and couldn't have been happier! High fives were exchanged around the boat along with a brief picture taking session before releasing the shark back into the wild.

It was one of those days that reminded me why I have the greatest job in the world and why Anna Maria Island is one of the finest places to go on a fishing charter.

Tight lines and remember the cliche: a bad day on the water still beats a good day in the office!

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