There has been considerable interest in the sharks around Tampa Bay. One recent encounter made local and national TV news. In a video filmed by Rob Gorta that has been popular on social media, a very large hammerhead shark attacks a school of tarpon. The intensity of the attack is unmistakable; one tarpon jumped in to Gorta's boat trying to escape the shark. Sharks are apex predators and are on the top of the food chain. They are efficient eating machines, they are stealthy, patient and deadly. Sharks will take any opportunity to subdue an unsuspecting prey. But they do not kill just for the sake of killing. Sharks are the best mechanism in nature for keeping a healthy environment healthy. Spanish mackerel, one of the sharks' favorite food sources, are in short supply this year; which may explain the continuing assault on the tarpon schools. I haven't seen so few mackerel like this since 2011. Even though the mackerel schools are lacking — the sharks are still here, they are hungry and aggressive. Recently, an 11-foot bull shark seemed to attempt to bite a 9-foot hammerhead shark that we had on the line. One thing is certain; shark fishing is not only entertaining, it can be intense. It is said: "Shark fishing — hours of boredom followed by moments of pandemonium."
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit captainlarryblue.com.