NationStates Jolt Archive

Monster shark, wow.

Via Ferrata
25-07-2005, 20:21
Published in the Asbury Park Press 07/22/05
In less time than it takes to microwave a frozen dinner, Ivo Allen had a fortune slip away.

$262,000. Just out of his grasp because his shark was so big it slowed the boat.

Allen, 41, of Howell, caught a 1,191-pound tiger shark off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., last weekend while he and a group of friends were competing in the 19th annual Monster Shark Tournament. It would have taken first place in the tournament and earned the group — including Joe Molinari of Howell and Tom Pear, the president of the Atlantic Club in Wall — $262,000, if not for the matter of a couple of miles.

That was how far the Castafari, the boat owned and captained by Allen's friend, Damon Sacco of Sandwich, Mass., was from the inlet at 6:30 p.m. The tournament rules stated all boats with sharks to weigh had to be inside the inlet by then.

The hoopla that has surrounded the group since has been nothing less than a whirlwind, with appearances on NBC's "Today Show" and CBS' "Early Show," telephone calls and newspaper interviews.

Tournament highlights were taped to be shown on ESPN on Sept. 12, and as soon as word got out that the Castafari was towing in a potentially winning shark, the TV network's crews started tracking the boat's progress.

"At 6:30 the tournament committee called us and asked, "Are you in the inlet yet?' " Allen said, "and we couldn't even lie because we had two ESPN helicopters hovering over us."

The two-day tournament, hosted by the Boston Big Game Fishing Club at Oaks Bluff, Mass., had 245 vessels competing. Boats were awarded points for the weight of each shark weighed in. Makos had to weigh at least 300 pounds, and blue sharks 200, to count, said Steve James, the tournament director.

So after spending the first day catching makos and blue sharks that were too small, Allen said, the group decided to concentrate on landing one big one on Saturday.

That meant going further offshore, out to the Gulf Stream more than 60 miles from the Vineyard, said Allen, president of Hunter Solutions, a computer consulting company in Eatontown that he named for his 7-year-old son. He and his wife, Victoria, also have a daughter, Meadow, 4.

"We knew the way we were set up and where we were that it was pretty much all or nothing," Allen said. "We didn't plan on catching anything this big."

About 1 p.m., while trolling live bluefish and large squid at a little more than 1 mph, the shark hit the squid, Allen said, and "took off so quickly that I didn't have time to put my shoes on.

"It took two mates to get the rod, a Penn International 80 with 130-pound monofilament line on the reel, out of the holder and into the harness," a brace that sits across the lower abdomen to give a fisherman more leverage while fighting a fish.

Tiger sharks are second only to great whites in their voracious nature and danger to humans. Many are small, but tiger sharks 12 to 14 feet long are not uncommon. The International Game Fish Association's all-tackle world record for tiger sharks is 1,780-pounder caught off South Carolina in 1964.

Allen fought the tiger shark standing up for 2 hours, 10 minutes, before he was finally able to subdue it at 3:10 p.m.

"The entire time it was a battle of inches," he said.

Dragging in the catch

Then came the battle to get the shark back by the 6:30 p.m. deadline. It was more than 15 feet long and snapped a block and tackle as they tried to haul it into the boat, he said. Finally they got five feet of the tail inboard through the tuna door and tied the rest up with seven lines, surfing it back to the inlet.

"We couldn't go more than 26 knots all the way back," Allen said. "At the end we were dumping ice, water, anything we could to pick up speed."

Back at the marina, James announced that a potential winning shark was on the way, and people crowded around waiting to see if Castafari would make it in time.

With four minutes to go, a boat entered the harbor and James announced it as Castafari, setting off a buzz in the crowd.

"But then we realized it was the wrong boat," James said.

Greg Skomal, a marine biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, who was at the tournament, estimated the shark probably weighed a bit more than 1,200 pounds when caught. Fish typically lose some weight due to water evaporation and blood loss during transport.

The prize goes to . . .

For the record, the tournament was won by a boat that weighed in two, 378-pound porbeagle sharks, James said.

And while James was disappointed for Sacco, a close friend, the buzz created by the near-miss was "the ultimate agony of defeat moment for ESPN," he said.

Four days later, Allen was still sore, too, not only from fighting the shark but from the near-miss.

The hardest part, however, was telling his wife.

"She said, "What, you couldn't go two miles an hour faster?' " Allen said with a laugh.
Via Ferrata
25-07-2005, 20:23
I'm afraid I really don't hold any appreciation for modern day trophy hunters of this sort, especially in light of the collapse in the number of many fish, and particularly shark species around the world these days. As I see it, it's a pointless blood sport carried out by irresponsible egostists with scant regard for the environmental impacts of pillaging apex pradators like large sharks!
25-07-2005, 20:44
It ate Esteban!
Carnivorous Lickers
25-07-2005, 20:44
the guy lives a short distance from me.
Bushrepublican liars
26-07-2005, 03:37
I agree with Via. Leave those kind fish alone. Hmm Martha's Vineyard? Must be some rich, fat yanks in the water to eat as a starter for those guys. :D