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I Know A Smiling Shark When I See One!

Jul 10, 2008
My vacation to St. George Island in May was just as relaxing as my last visit to this barrier island off Apalachicola, Florida. Fishing in the surf on the gulf side of this 22 mile spit of sand in Northwest Florida, I found that for once I was in the right place at the right time. The fish were biting and my daughter-in-law and I were doing our part to make this fishing holiday a good one.

My family and I were staying on the bay side of the island, which was only a stone's throw from the gulf side. The day before we had walked across the road that extends from the state park on the east side, to the end of the island on the west side.

Getting out of bed early in the morning when you're on vacation, miles away from the stress and activity of a work-a-day world is not something everyone wants to do. So early the next morning as the sun was beginning to paint the bay a brilliant orange and yellow, I grabbed a cup of coffee, fishing tackle, bait bucket and collapsible chair, and then walked across the road to the gulf side beach.

As I looked for a spot to park my gear and prepare to fish, I noticed that I was all alone. To my left and then my right, I couldn't see a single living person! There were gulls and a lone pelican waiting to see if I was going to throw any kind of food his way, but there was not another human being in sight!

This had to be some kind of a miracle, only made possible by divine intervention. I recorded this phenomenon by taking photos up and down the beach because I knew that no one would believe there was a beach in Florida that wasn't swarming with people anytime of the day!

God definitely has a sense of humor. He was setting me up and I didn't have a clue about what was about to happen. I just knew that it was a little scary to look out over the gulf and know that you're the only one in the entire world that is enjoying this beach at this particular place and at this time.

Digging into my bait bucket I grabbed a large live shrimp, careful to hold him behind those sharp horns. I've been stuck enough in the past to know that when they jab you with them, it hurts!

I was using a 2 ounce pyramid lead weight to hold the bait on the bottom and not have it ride the current. This large sinker also allowed me to throw the bait about 40 yards into the Gulf of Mexico. As my shrimp hit the water, I saw a large fin break the water only about 30 yards from where I was standing!

As I watched the dorsal fin disappear in the shallow water, I marveled at how close the dolphins were to shore. Then as its head broke the surface of the water, it turned toward me, and then looked me straight in the eye and smiled! It was a large brownish tan, blue shark! I know it seems absurd, but I know a smile when I see one and this one was smiling!

I'm not an expert on sharks, but I knew this wasn't a black tipped shark because his dorsal fin was not tipped in black. Great logic! It could have been a sand shark, nurse shark or any one of a hundred different ones. All I knew is that it had a lot of teeth!

He disappeared under the water and as I was searching for it my rod tip dipped toward the sand and line was screeching off the reel as the drag kept the line from breaking. Grabbing the rod I held on while whatever had eaten my shrimp made a mad dash for Cancun!

Here is the part where God was about to punish me for past indiscretions and sins. I knew that it had to be the shark that I had hooked! He knew it also. He also knew that probably no one would believe me because there were no witnesses around who saw the shark and could back up my story; maybe because my fish have a way of growing with each telling of the story!

My line broke with a snap as the shark decided to run to open water. It was fun while it lasted and no one believed me when I got back to the house. God sure can pick weird times to get back at you.
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
http://www.redfishbob.com
http://www.bluemarlinbob.com
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