Warm Weather, Tigers, Makos and ... Whites?

Air temps here in SW Florida are already about 20 degrees warmer than this time last year, and are actually above historical averages. Gulf water temps are also notably higher than 12 months ago. With other factors like the BP oil disaster and Mother Nature having a mind of her own aside, the two unsubstantiated fish stories below deserve mention and some consideration. Either way, I'd like to think so.  - stp-

On Thursday, I got a call from a solid source on Florida's east coast that an 80-pound amberjack was snatched from a spear fisherman less than a mile offshore by a 12 - 14 foot white shark. When the alleged hi-jacking took place, the lucky angler was involved in the routine task of retrieving his speared catch in approximately 80 feet of water. Those in the know would agree, the next best suspect would be a mako, but the first-hand, eye-witness source is convinced otherwise. Either way, a big mako or a smallish white well inside the Gulf Stream is intriguing.

This morning, I caught wind of a report, and then confirmed that a mako shark exceeding 700 pounds was taken approximately 30 miles off the coast of Sarasota by a split charter group on board the 'Big Catch' of the Flying Fish Fleet yesterday. While cleaning the mako, a fully intact blacktip shark of about 65 pounds was discovered amongst the stomach contents, adding to the total estimated weight, which was calculated using the following measurements.

I spoke with a representative of the Flying Fish Fleet and confirmed this shark was 116 inches at the fork with a 68 inch girth, and had a total length between 11 and 12 feet. There was no scale on site to accurately handle a fish of this size. FORMULA USED = Girth Squared (68 x 68 = 4624) times Fork Length (116 inches) Divided by 800 = Total Estimated Weight of: 670 Pounds plus the Consumed Blacktip (65 Pounds) = 735 Pounds.

"A great big fish, indeed" -- according to founding members of the All-Star Rod & Gun Club

Tigers, mostly smaller juveniles, have also been caught just off the beaches around Sarasota in recent weeks, and finally, in talking with my brother, Brooks, and pro guides like Capt. Robert Moore, there have been credible reports that mature makos and other larger, but similar-looking species; have been snatching amberjack from angler's lines off the coast of Boca Grande, just to our south.

This could be an interesting year.

Sean Paxton is a self-confessed throwback adventurer who enjoys cold dinners out of a can, loosely planned expeditions to the middle of nowhere and long dives with sharks. He can fashion a tourniquet out of any necktie, prefers A1-Sauce over Gray Poupon and skirt steaks that are just a little pink in the middle. Contact: Sean@ThinkOutLoudProductions.com