Dave Nolan and Gary Schetlick Shark Killers!

Gary and I left Thursday Night about 11pm. Filled up with gas (47 gallons in the 24 g saddle, 12 g aft, and two portables) and got four buckets of frozen chum. Launched and out the inlet about midnight. Stopped at the Tolten Lump 18 miles out and tried for fresh bluefish. No good except for some dogfish. Motored on in alternating rain until about 430 am and at 60 miles from inlet. Got scary at dawn in a squall with confused seas and not being able to see the waves. Stopped to fish. I went inside and plunked down on my foam pad and pulled sleeping bag over me. Thought I'd puke and I haven't done that in ten years plus. Woke up to rain in my face from that silly port hole we have up there in the front above anchor well.

Gary had a bluefish in the boat, and he put it back out and all our baits were devoured. Just heads left from dogfish that came up in the chum. They ate everything like pirahnas.

Moved a few miles inshore hoping for warmer water but best we got all day was 62.3 F on the Garmin. I think it needs to be calibrated as the water FELT a lot warmer. Set up and in about 2 hours proceed to catch four blue sharks from about 100 to 150 lbs. Fun but on third fish I tried to cut close to the leader and lost my pliers. Gary couldn't find his heavy fish cutting pliers since the last night we were out stripering. Tried to wrap the leader with Gary's small meat hook thing he bought at restaurant supply and it worked well but fish twisted and came so close to my hand I let go and it went down. Gary was not happy. Cut last fish off altogethe as we had no pliers. Moved inshore to 25 fathon lump. Started fishing and we were talking and BS-ing and making sandwiches in a break in weather and rod went off screaming. It took the wimpy leader we put on after having no cutting tools - about 4-5 foot of 100 lb test leader and ran on the TLD 30 loaded with 60. Pulled drift sock in and chum bucket and Gary screaming and motor wouldnt start. Think saddle tank was about out. Got kicker started and boat turned around and Gary was about out of line. Really close. Then he saw the fish way out on top and said look and I looked up and the thing came totally out of the water. Big sickle like fin. I didn't know Threshers did that. Fish was all over the place and I alternated runing to steer with main and back to turn the motor throttle up and down and we ended up breaking off fish. Line was all frayed up. Threshers hasve a big ass tail so he probably wrapped. I say 250 lb class fish seeing it one time clear out of the water. It was awesome.

Gary totally psyched and I was mad. Honda fired right as Gary lost the fish. We put the lines out with best stuff we could hoping for another Thresher and I went in to lay down. Gary did also after about an hour. It was about 3pm, I was totally out and woke to Gary screaming. The Senator 6/0 High speed Wide spool was screaming and the chum bucket was gone???? Cleared lines and this fish screamed. It didn't jump so I thought big Thresher.

I fought it for about an hour (no gimbal or any of that crap) and just followed it with the boat. Unlike the tuna, which like to try to pull the boat to the bottom, this fish fought mostly right on top. He didn't jump but stayed right up and we could see the fish fin way out. Fish hit a half filleted bluefish 60 feet down and floated back on a waterbottle float. We had a bimini twist (double line) for about 10 feet and about 8 foot of leader so we felt good. Near the end I was beat and Gary took the fish. We got downwind of him and it kept turning to the right as we approached. Ended up idling slow ahead as Gary reeled and the fish came to boat close about 5-6 times but no shot with harpoon. Finally got it all right and put to idle grabbed harpoon and slammed it. Fish took off and harpoon was floating. Alum tube bent and harpoon tip was off. I was insane. Gary stayed with it holding pressure and fish took off maybe 100 yards real fast. He was MAD. I got an older wood gaff out, snapped gaff off and duck taped it to the alum bent shaft in record time. We got set up again and same thing. This time I got the dart in the fish and the fish was off and the line tight at aft end of the boat and I was a bit worried about picking the aft cleat to tie off to. DArt pulled out of the fish and the harpoon shaft dart shaft was hopelessly bent. I was so mad because i have a new SS shaft I bought awhen I got the Garmin but never made a stouter harpoon.

Took the blue line rope off the fish harpoon to make a flying gaf ffrom the big gold AFtco gaff. Slipppd gaff point through the eye clip and tied off rope to shaft and we were a go. Next time fish came up with blood coming from its side in two places from harpoon attempts and I sunk the big gaff and Gary got the smaller stout double-walled epoxied alum gaff I made. I hit fish in mid sectiona nd Gary hit him forward. He was thrashing and trying to roll and all we could do was hang on. Whe he finaly got quiet I gave Gary my gaff and made record time grabbing a stout half inch line and got it around the tail. Fish was on starboard side with head at transom and tail by the helm and I had no cleat except the one I used screws to put in temp for outrigger lines. (I have WAY too much temp stuff on the boat now). I wrapped the line around the wood I put in for the helm way back when I didn't know how it would be mounted. Got another line on tail and across boat to port aft cleat. We had him. Got a line cinched around front of the body and tied off to stbd cleat and he was still trying to swim but had Josh's 20 gauge with me. Gary wanted to tow the fish till dead I I wanted to shoot him. Put one low brass birdshot between the eyes and lights out.

Getting fish in was a MF-er. We tried pulling the tail, the head, the middle. No good. Ended up using boat tie down straps. Got tail up as high as both of us could pull it and tied off to cooler tie down point. Same with head. Fish wouldn't come over the side strake so we had to pull hard both of us and then take up slack. We fnally got his other meat hook in side and a second gaff and pulled straight up and rolled fish right over side and he plunked down on the deck.

Fish had a lot of blue paint on him. Ended up lookg at the rod and realized the hook FELL OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Must have been in its teeth or something??

Drove home 53 miles at top speed and ended up dumping the 2 cycle fuel into saddle tank as we were real low. Not sure what final fuel milage was until I go check GPS log but we had maybe 4-5 gallons total fuel left over. Way too close.

Called Tanya at 10 miles from inlet (about 3-4 off the beach as we were way south). Ended up coming into Hoffmans and stopped traffic in the river as boats staring at us. First fish weighed this year in Manasquan and a whopper. 336 live weight on the certified scale at Hoffmans. Lots of people I never met shaking hands and whatnot. Tanya showed up with babies, neighbors Mr Schnieder, neighbor Charlie, Neighbor Dee, two of other four kids. One kid wanted to gut it right there and somebody said something about "that Kitner boy spilling all over the dock" (Scene from Jaws).

Got fish back home and back up went deer hanging 2x4 and then the Vietnamese neighbor and his friends and neighbor Keith and we gutted the fish, than put him on the picnic table and deheaded him. Cut up huge chunks of fish and have two coolers of fish to steak out and vacuum seal. Wish Uncle Rich was here to make smoked Mako.

Learned a lot from this. Harpooning Tuna is easy. Not so shark. Need the shaft strong, razor sharp, and stout. Perfect shaft and dart alignment helps too. Just a great day.

Real pictures loaded on Offsite Photos. Told wife about South Jersey Tourney and top fish willb e worth like $60 K and watch it'll be ours not enetered. Decided to not paint deck. It'd be way too slippery. Got about 30 lbs of shark liver I forgot to put away last night and fly city out there. Head and fins to my chinese guy who's in heaven. I love a big working deck. I can't see this on some of the "sportfishing" boats... We were definately shorthanded on this trip. David Nolan / Brick NJ

News  |  Maps  |  Fish  |  Tackle  |  Links  |  Stories  |  Forum  |  Conservation  |  Tolman Skiff
© 2001 by FishyFIsh. All rights reserved.