May 17, 2012
By Sam Hudson
Patrick Cruz, Philip Overby, and Ted Van Slyck captured footage of a curious mako shark 30 miles off Little Torch Key, Florida Keys. The crew began filming with GoPro cameras after the shark swam up behind the boat and started eating their hooked dolphin. When the mako began to attack the boat propeller, crew members intentionally hooked up with the shark.
"The dolphin bite was HOT for 3 days. We ended up with 3 bull dolphin, ranging from 25 to 40 pounds and well over 30 peanuts," said Cruz. "We were in 1,900 to 2,100 feet of water at The Wall (about 29 miles off of Little Torch Key)."
Patrick Cruz, of Jacksonville, owns and operates Jax Media Team. He was fishing with Philip Overby, a Jacksonville firefighter at Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, and Ted Van Slyck, of Chicago. Slyck is an airline pilot, and this was his first time ever fishing for dolphin.
The crew found a consistent weedline right at the dropoff each day. The mako shark was the very last hookup of the trip. Fishing out of Philip's 25-foot Carolina Skiff, the anglers had no intention of attracting the shark. When it showed at the back of the boat, a triple hookup of peanuts become shark bait.
"When no peanuts were left it started to bite the prop and wouldn't leave us alone," explained Cruz. So they grabbed their cameras and decided to throw out a wire rig. The only wire rig available was a dolphin delight. Patrick added a dolphin belly trailer, kept from the night before. "We had absolutely no intention of keeping him, but thought he would help make a great video and a great fight. I estimated it to be 10 feet long and around 500-600 pounds. If someone had fallen in, I have no doubt it would have taken a bite."
The shark grabbed the bait within 15 seconds. First, the mako stayed near the boat on top of the water for 10 minutes and then took off about 15 yards and jumped completely out of the water. The shark was incredibly strong! After 30 minutes, it nearly spooled the line and went straight down. "I had my TLD20 at the highest drag possible and was using my thumbs to keep him from running more," explained Cruz. "We got him close enough to the boat to touch the wire and Ted actually was able to touch his fin. Then we cut the line immediately after."
Below is extra footage of the mako shark leaping out of the water. Keep your eyes focused at the bottom left portion of the video: