Friday, December 7, 2012

On Sharks and Kayak Fishing

Sharks hug with their mouths
   I am not an old salt when it comes to fishing in the ocean. I have to admit, the thought of a looming Great White Shark does scare the pants off of me. Each time I prepare to go out on the ocean in a 13 foot long plastic boat, I think about those teeth and I get the chills. When stories about shark attacks make the news I take steps to assure my wife does not see them, I do not need to scare her the way I am scared.  As I dangle my feet in the water after a successful launch rigging my pole I realize I am not in my comfort zone, I am in the sharks comfort zone. Even writing about it gives me the willies, I can't help it. Sitting out there bobbing in the waves literally like a sitting duck. Tomorrow I am headed to where a kayaker was attacked in  May off Moonstone Beach. In fact most of the Great White attacks have been off the Central Coast this year.
Shark attacks and fatalities around California

The store has plenty of fish, why risk it? 

I am not saying it is impossible to get attacked by a Great White, I am just saying it is unlikely. There are thousands of swimmers in the waters off the coast of California. There are also thousands of surfers and at least hundreds of kayakers. Looking at the numbers of attacks and potential targets there are better odds of being trampled on Black Friday than being killed by a shark.

Around 450 people a year die from falling out of bed, think about that the next time you have one of those falling dreams.  130 people are killed by whitetail deer, though it did not say whether hitting a deer with a car was a factor in any of the deaths. This year around 13 people will be crushed by vending machines and, 6 people will be riding a roller coaster when something goes wrong. Five people a year are killed by sharks, I am still afraid of sharks but the juice is worth the squeeze.

    Drinking and fishing/paddling is far more dangerous. What brought this all on was a trip to Cost Co yesterday when I came across a surfboard. I started thinking about people's comments when I talk about kayak fishing in the ocean, most are bound to say something like "aren't you afraid about getting bit by a shark?" Or "isn't that dangerous". But when someone talks about surfing people say "I have always wanted to learn to surf" or "That looks like so much fun." Not trying to bag on surfers, but it is way more dangerous to be attacked by a shark on a board than in a kayak. Looking at the numbers I am willing to take the risk, as far as I know there have been no kayak fishing deaths due to shark attack.

   My point is worrying about being attacked by a shark, while being a terrifying thought, is very unlikely and worth the risk to fish the pacific coast. It is much more dangerous to fish without the proper equipment than a fish, period. Stay safe out there, Rockfish season closes on the Central Coast December 31st and does not open until May.

If you are out tomorrow off Moonstone beach I will see you out there, other wise be safe out there. I copied some info on shark safety and pasted  it below along with two links to more information.

Thanks for reading,


"The following is a summary of some of our discoveries:
  • The white shark is the only species in California that presents a significant danger to humans.
  • White sharks live worldwide in cool, coastal waters. In the eastern Pacific, they live from Baja California, Mexico, to the Gulf of Alaska, and appear to be most abundant in California at the Channel Islands off southern California and locations north of Point Conception, California.
  • Adult white sharks feed primarily upon pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), and typically stalk their prey from behind and beneath before attacking -- in most cases, neither pinnipeds nor people see the shark before it bites them. The initial attack is so rapid and so forceful (adult white sharks weigh as much as 1-3 tons) that the victim is often lifted from the water, then released, after which the shark typically waits for the victim to bleed to death before attempting to consume it.
  • White shark attacks upon humans typically occur near shore in water 10-30 feet deep.
  • The majority of attacks occur at the surface, placing swimmers, surfers, kayakers, and scuba divers (when at the surface) at greatest risk. The appearance of a surfer on a short surfboard, for example, might easily be mistaken by the shark for a basking sea lion.
  • White shark attacks are not random. The Farallon Islands, Año Nuevo Island (San Mateo County), and Tomales Point and Bird Rock (Marin County) are particularly dangerous locations and should be avoided.
  • White shark attacks have occurred during every month, but are most common in September and August.
  • White shark attacks have occurred between 7:00 (AM) and 6:00 (PM).
  • White sharks can see color, however they do not appear to discriminate in that they usually look skyward before an attack and only observe the surface silhouette of the victim.
  • One should never enter California waters alone in that the "buddy system" has saved the majority of attack victims.
  • Biologists now understand the importance of white sharks in coastal ecosystems through their role as top level predators within food webs. They are protected in California and elsewhere in the world and, like many other species of sharks, are endangered through over fishing and habitat destruction.",_unprovoked_shark_attacks_in_the_United_States


  1. They say that the odds of being attacked by a shark are 1 in 11.5 million. When you're out there, just don't look like a seal. Also, grabbing one by the tail is not a good idea. I know this for a fact.

    1. Boy I sure did have a scare today; when an Elephant Seal came up out of nowhere. Those guys can be just as dangerous.

    2. I worry more about people texting and over correcting into my lane. That will kill one of 300 of us. Most likely, it will be a woman at the wheel. Just saying. ; )

  2. Had a GWS stalk me a few years ago off Spooners Cove @ Montana De Oro. Scared the hell out of me, but didn't keep me off the water. I did avoid the cove for a couple of weeks though.

    1. A guy who goes by Fishon11 on CCKF, had one chase a seal 20 ft away from him at spooners. You must have confused that fish, he was curious.

  3. For some reason, I have no fear of vending machines.

    But sharks are why I won't go in the ocean. I'm not the top predator.

    I actually stopped going in Lake Michigan a long time ago after they pulled out an eight foot sturgeon. I don't care if they are harmless, they're bigger than me...

    1. It is not a good feeling knowing you are not at the top of the food chain.

  4. I'm afraid doing kayak fishing, if Shark will suddenly appear.


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