The Right Kind  My First Thresher Shark

 By John "Quietman" Roe 

I went down to the Harbor about 3:15 PM and launched planning to go back out the headland kelp like yesterday.  Very nice afternoon, a bit windy as always from the west, kinda choppy but not horrible. I left the harbor and got into a paddling rhythm that didn't involve too much water over the bow.

As I got past the worst of the kelp around the harbor mouth I started thinking about putting out the trolling rods, but thought I would go a bit further first.  Soon I metered some bait and some big marks, so I went ahead and put out two Rapalas.

Not three minutes later at 2.2 knots, my heavier stick gets knocked hard.  I immediately thought "thresher tail slap", and kept paddling and hoping for a connect.  Bingo, line starts pealing.  I got the rod, and started winding but the shark was swimming right at me.  I had a few anxious moments wondering if I was still on or not, then off she went on a loooong run.

I was very happy.  I had 45' of water under me, no kelp and a nice loose drag.  When the shark slowed I wound in the other line and stowed the rod.  After a couple more runs I got out my camera and took a picture of the rod, the one I posted on the message board.

I wanted the shark to fight until it was darn good and tired.  I was in no hurry and was enjoying myself and my tow immensely.  I stowed the radio, FF and GPS and put my paddle behind me to clear the deck.  I clambered up to my forward hatch and retrieved my special tie-off line I had put together for just this event.

After about 15 minutes I saw color and was a little disappointed it wasn't a bigger Mr. T.  But since I had never landed one from the yak before I decided I should count my blessings.  She was tail-hooked, of course, and I brought her tail up to within reach to execute my landing plan.  I have watched Rhyno's video, which was helpful, but I had come up with a little different wrinkle of my own.

My plan was first to make very sure the shark was exhausted before going any further. I loosened the drag a bit, and carefully grabbed the tail where the Rapala couldn't get me, after making sure the shark was still well-hooked.  The second I grabbed it, that bad girl blasted off at warp nine.  No sweat, I expected that and just sat back and tightened up the drag a bit while letting her run.  

Next time up she was calmer.  I grabbed the tail and set the rod in my flush mount with the drag nice and loose and got out my secret weapon...a rope with a loop.  I put the loop end over the tail forward of the fat point where it joins the body, put the bitter end through the loop and had a lassoed shark.  The other end went through a biner clipped to the deck with one wrap so that I could hold as much or as little tension as I liked (on belay).  In the event she decided to blast off again, I would simply let go and she could run again without tipping me or getting away.  She didn't, so I unhooked the Rapala and sat on the end of the line and started paddling back in.  After about 10 minutes I figured she was a goner, so I hauled her up on deck and lashed her down.

The bad thing was I had planned on a nice paddle and had brought gear to stay out till after dark.  And here I was pretty much done after not even an hour.

I had thought about releasing the magnificent animal as she was so beautiful, it's just amazing to be holding a shark sitting on a little Kayak.  But since I had not kept one this year, I figured what the heck, and I knew it would make my friend Yanni and my father in law very happy to have 10 or 30 pounds of "Greek Swordfish."

Female Thresher 62 pounds, just a pup...
Next one gets released!