By Kirstie Sutheran
A boat captain helped to retrieve a rusty hook from the jaws of a seven-foot tiger shark.
Elliot Grant Sudal, 29, works as a ‘shark tagger’ for a federal research program, the NOAA Apex predator tagging program, as a way of tracking shark migration routes, reproduction and growth patterns.
However, this time the boat captain was faced with the task of removing an old rusty hook from the jaws of a tiger shark he had caught and was trying to tag on Sanibel Island, Florida, in November, this year.
Elliot, who was with girlfriend, Morgan and friends, Rob and Shaelyn, at the time, said: “We are out catching and tagging sharks almost every night and have caught close to 1,000 from the beach in the last 5 years.
“It is very common to catch sharks with old rusty hooks stuck in their jaws, most from commercial fishing lines, and I’ve removed up to five hooks from one shark before.
“Hooks don’t simply ‘rust away’ like people think and barbless hooks and ‘circle hooks’ are safer and easier to remove.
“Only experienced anglers should attempt shark fishing as it carries many dangers; for the fisherman and the shark.”
Elliot explains that there is a special technique to catching sharks so that they can be tagged and it’s not for the faint-hearted.
He said: “Shark fishing entails kayaking large baits hundreds of meters from the beach and dropping them off, as the rod and reel remain on the beach.
“When a shark is hooked, the angler fights the shark from the beach, eventually getting them into the shallows where the hook can be removed and the shark can be tagged, measured, photographed and released.
“Most shark fishing takes place at night as sharks are more active in low light conditions.”