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Florida East Coast Spearfishing Let's talk here about spearing on Florida's Atlantic coast. Reports and other issues about this region belong here.

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Old 08-06-2009, 07:45 PM   #46
Native Diver
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

We have been thinking about things we would do differently...

Well, for one, if locals tell you a place is a "sharky" area.... we are gonna pay more attention to that. We all knew that Spanish is sharky... we've dove there for years and years.... first time in 1979. Still it has gotten more of a reputation and bull sharks are known to come in the marina regularly. We don't see bull's in other marinas, save maybe walker's on occasion. Bull's have the worst track record and are know to be territorial. So, we won't dive at Spanish, but will fish there... the people and staff are great, nice accomodations, food, marina.

We see sharks almost every day we dive in the Abacos. Usually they are not aggressive and come in and survey from a distance. This bull didn't survey... he was biting first and asking questions later.. .he didn't even go for the diver with the fish!! We have many times gone down and retrieved injured fish after seeing a "calm" reef or black tip shark checking things out. One diver guarding the other. That just isn't worth the risk for me anymore.

One other thing we thought of was that we were diving small heads in a line and the tide was flowwing in the same direction. Could this have created trail of blood smell and brought the shark up the trail? Well, we certainly will pay attention to that from now on.

We are also looking at the electronic deterrents.. can't hurt. I have seen Kevlar "chain mail" like cloth. I wonder if a light weight protective suit could be made. All that needs to be done it prevent the teeth from cutting through and 90% of the injury or more could be averted (IMO).

I am not sure if I subscribe to the ONE fish and move theory yet. It sounds extreme. Besides, if you shoot one fish and it stuggles and a hungry, territorial bull shark is right behind you...

Any other ideas??

Last edited by Native Diver; 08-07-2009 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:45 PM   #47
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

Native Diver, you got some good ideas there to incorporate into you dive planning. Very logical.

The chain mail suits are very heavy, but they do work. Freedom 7 shark shield is cheaper and easier to use. However, I've heard that there are times the frenzied sharks can break right through the field. I hope I never have to find out if that's true.
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:52 AM   #48
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

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The chain mail suits are very heavy, but they do work. .
I hear ya. Was really referring to kevlar chain or similar suit. The kevlar chain is really light weight, just don't know how to get it or cost... Like I would have the time anyway
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Old 08-07-2009, 01:12 PM   #49
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

Native Diver - I am so glad he is making progress and is free of infection. You all are in my thoughts and my prayers. I have seen first hand a six pack of bulls not even flintch from a shark-sheild. I also know that if you swim underneathe ssomeone that has one. The uncofortable jolts the pulse thru your body. Is not a heart attack but a shark sheild! But I also seen it work as well.
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Old 08-07-2009, 01:47 PM   #50
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

For freediving the sharkshield might be the best way to go as it is a good deterent if left on. Like your situation where a shark comes in from nowhere and strikes at the first thing in his "zone" there isn't time to do much. I will wear it diving solo as it is the shark I don't see that see that will most likely hit me. Glad Derek is doing well! I'm sure he'll be back at it no time. John
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:02 PM   #51
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

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I hear ya. Was really referring to kevlar chain or similar suit. The kevlar chain is really light weight, just don't know how to get it or cost... Like I would have the time anyway
I'll look around the DEMA conference (Dive Equipment Manufacturing Association) coming up this fall and look specifically for the kevlar chain. I'm curious, too, as to the cost and weight. I'll let you know what I find out.

Sounds like Derek's a strong kid and a real trooper. I'm hoping for a speedy recovery.
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:12 PM   #52
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

Dude, I heard a part of the radio call when it happened. I just got back from green turtle today and was hoping to get some info on it. Glad everyone is OK. It was just a snippet on my crappy handheld, I think it was the boat Rendevous responding to you but that was all I got.
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:57 PM   #53
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

Grande... you heard right. rondevous, was a boat that responded. It was the General Surgeon's boat from Stuart and they met us in Cooperstown.


Did you hear my "mayday"? That was a scary call.
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:09 PM   #54
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

Matt (my favorite prosthetist), again, sorry that happened to you guys but glad it turned out OK. Thanks for sharing with us and especially for brainstorming about how to avoid similar situations. We should do more of that here.

I always feel super vulnerable when slinging in the Bahamas. The combination of lots of sharks and only a teeny weeny peashooter left in my hand after spearing a fish is not a good feeling. We just try to keep moving, but as you said, you never know. I can't think of anything else to add to your list. You could maybe consider carrying a spare shaft stuck down the back of your weightbelt. At least it gives you something to defend yourself with....if you see it coming. The problem is, sharks rarely attack humans, but when they do, it's so damn fast.

It's interesting to note that there were three similar incidences within about a month in the Bahamas. Did you hear about Capt John Cooper? Anyway, they all involved spearfishermen being bit on the arm or leg. With your background, you are just the man to invent arm/leg guards made of lightweight material. Wouldn't that be funny? You'd be working on both prevention and reconstruction of limb loss. You da man....much respect!!!
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:06 AM   #55
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

man that is terrible, so glad it wasn't any worse, i often fear for my kids when diving and would do the same as for protecting them. spanish has always been sharky but thats just not right. godspeed to healthy healing. that bull needs to be put down. thoughts and prayers are with the brave young man.
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:35 PM   #56
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

Native,
No I didnt hear the mayday. We were just sitting on my dock in GTC when I caught "this is rendevous responding to the boat with shark victim". I would have liked to hear all the radio communications but in a way am glad I didnt. I was with a buddy, who has only lobstered never speared, and our wives and 2 kids each. Had we heard or known the whole story I probably wouldnt have been able to get any of them back in the water the rest of the trip.

I emailed him the story and he responded he would not be spearing on any future trips. I havent shown it to my wife and probably wont. Again hope all goes well with the kid.
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:06 PM   #57
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

Derek, it was nice to meet you today at the courthouse, glad to see your out and about. i was getting my alligator agent permit for tomorrow night while you were getting your parking handicap permit for school. i saw you spinning around in that wheelchair , it won't be long before you back on your feet. hey can i call you sharkbait, i know its stupid but got to have some humor in it all. so glad things are working out for you, good luck in school. kudos to you and your father and friends, so glad it wasn't any worse. your a brave young man........ heal quickly. peace
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:00 PM   #58
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiveGal View Post
Native Diver, you got some good ideas there to incorporate into you dive planning. Very logical.

The chain mail suits are very heavy, but they do work. Freedom 7 shark shield is cheaper and easier to use. However, I've heard that there are times the frenzied sharks can break right through the field. I hope I never have to find out if that's true.
I can attest to the fact that the shark shield works as it kept 8 adult lemons circling me at 15' when I brought a grouper up from a wreck. When the 9th lemon shark charged up off the bottom at me at full speed? This 10' shark made it throught the 15' shark shield electric force field in less than a second. Fortunately his mouth wasn't open as he turned his head and rammed me with his chest. The shield then kept this and the remaining sharks away from me until the boat picked me up.

So the shark shield does work 99% of the time, and I'm glad I had it. I would definitely want a shield up at Walkers. Much like some of the bahamian waiters, those bahamian sharks can be just plain RUDE!

Glad the boy's doing well. I pray he's 100% better in time for you trip next summer. Y'all are more than welcome to borrow my Freedom 7 when you go back.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:38 PM   #59
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

Glad to hear that it turned out as well as it did. I wish him a speedy recovery, that tendon damage will take a little time but he'll be back in short time. The Bahamas is a long way from home when your luck changes, your experience showed, well done.
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:02 PM   #60
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Re: Bull Shark attacked us.... News gets details wrong

I know this is an old post but first time im seen it. Im from Marsh Harbour, Abaco. I dive Spanish cay occasionally, but when I do its only for a very short period of time - two or three fish then I move elsewhere. There are some big fish to be found there in shallow water but every local knows that Spanish Cay = Sharks.. and, more specifically, bull sharks. I have seen some of the biggest bull sharks in my life on the inside of the reef and in the channels of the reef off the north end of Spanish cay. The outside of the reef isn't as bad, but still pretty damn sharky. Last year I had a bull shark take the hogfish of my spear, eat it, then charge my dad directly afterwards - he managed to fend it off - but neither of us saw it coming. They don't play in the back there. My dad, whose nearly 70 now, tells me that even when he was growing up Spanish cay was known for sharks. But I feel like its gotten worse in the last few years. This is mainly because the gov. banned commercial shark fishing in the Bahamas about 5 years ago. Since then we've been seeing way more sharks on all of our reefs, and shark attacks are going up.

Only place worse for sharks in my opinion is South Abaco. A guy I know got bit on his back by a reef shark there three days ago - it wasn't a serious bite but definitely enough to leave a scar. My advice to those who would consider spearing at Spanish Cay is to always carry two spears in your hand- one for fish and one for sharks. You don't want to be in the water with a shark charging you and your only spear is at the bottom of the sea. This has saved me from being bitten before. Also you're probably better off spearing on the outside of the reef in the deeper, clearer water. The visibility on the inside tends to be worse and the shallow water means that its hard to spot the shark before its on your ass. Thats my two cents about Spanish Cay.

Im glad to know the boy was alright in the end. Could have been a lot worse.

Last edited by Bahamian; 06-25-2015 at 03:19 PM.
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