08 April 2009

Shark training?

As an avid sea kayaker I often come across other paddlers that use their craft primarily for fishing.
I have fished from the kayak myself (with mixed results) and find it great fun and rewarding.

Vanilla's catch
While not exactly a mad fisherman myself, I know of folks that regularly hit the water in a kayak to go fishing.
They have outfitted their vessel with all sorts of technology to increase their chances of reeling in the big ones.
I also have heard of kayakers using burley to attract their catch.
Observing several kayaks not far away from shore at one of my paddling spots I asked the local kayaker if the fishing was good.
The reply was that most times was great however lately it has been rather hard to land any of the catches.
He lamented the presence of a tiger shark that was stalking the kayakers and snatching the hooked fish before they could be landed on board.
While hearing of sharks taking your fish before it's in your hands is nothing new (most "stink boaties" can confirm that) what is different in this case it the type of craft used on the water.
Admittedly a kayak is much smaller in size and much closer to the water than let's say a "tinny" (small aluminium boat) and its occupant is much more vulnerable to a potential shark attack.
Reports of sharks bumping into paddling kayaks (even not fishing) are not unusual.
There are several cases of sharks actually having a nibble at the craft with teeth marks to prove the close encounter.
My question is: are we training our sharks to associate kayaks with easy food and potentially lead them to attack us (recent Sydney Harbor incident) ?
Would in the years to come this be a real concern for all paddlers in shark habitats?
While sharks have learned to follow ships where scraps are tossed overboard all the time I think sharks will soon learn that kayaks could represent a food source.

PS APR10 this article/video is quite scary

1 comment:

  1. Hey Gnarlydog, there might be some substance to this line of thought about fishing from kayaks etc....
    However I would be more concerned about the time day you paddle & the weather conditions at the time.
    Like surfers & swimmers you are also at higher risk of becomming a meal at dawn & dusk, in murky water & on overcast days. Sharks will hang around schooling baitfish behind the breakers & reef dropoffs. They will feed more freeley @ the above mentioned times & places, avoid these & you are in front already!!

    P.S Love the Blog Mate!


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