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Hammerhead shark takes kayaker on 2-hour ride (watch)

Published Mar. 26, 2014

BOYNTON BEACH — Adam Fisk had barely tossed his bait fish in the water on Sunday when the shark hit.

One of the poles in his kayak — not the one in his hand — suddenly slammed against its holder and bent far forward.

The 22-year-old saw the shark, an 11-foot hammerhead. He grabbed the pole and settled in for a long fight.

Fisk's YouTube video, "Lone Man Gets Towed For Miles in Kayak By 11 Foot Hammerhead Shark," had gotten about 2,700 views in two days. Worried about the battery life of his head-mounted camera, he only captured a little more than 6 minutes of the ride, during which the shark pulls his kayak at a brisk pace for 8 miles.

"I figured if my line was holding up I would get the best video I could, just to show my friends," Fisk told the Tampa Bay Times in a phone interview. "I never thought I would get this far."

Fishing is a weekend ritual for the Florida Atlantic University senior. A break from criminal justice classes he hopes will take him to a career as a officer with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

He also belongs to something called Team Rebel, whose members specialize in "extreme fishing" and post their exploits on YouTube. They have poured bloody chum in the water and watched blacktip and lemon sharks thrashing at the bait to a heavy metal sound track.

They have reeled sharks onto beaches at night, sometimes needing three or four bodies on one pole, before photographing their catch and releasing the fish back into the water.

But on Sunday, shark was the last thing on Fisk's mind. He had put in at 6 a.m. off Boynton Inlet, on one of those spring days when the weather is close to perfect. He cruised off the Atlantic shore in a red kayak, a camera mounted on an elastic strap around his head and several fishing poles aboard.

After several hours, he had caught a 15-pound mackerel. That's when the pole beside him suddenly jerked forward and the kayak took off.

As his video clearly demonstrates, Fisk and his boat are running only on shark power. It doesn't let up.

The shark tows the boat north. A half hour goes by. Still farther north.

An hour. An hour and a half. They leave Boynton Beach behind.

A couple of times, Fisk dips his camera in the water. His video clip captures the shark — actually only 4 or 5 feet away, though the lens makes it look farther away.

A few times, all the tension went out of the line. That's the only time Fisk worried.

"I was nervous whenever the line went slack," he said. "I figured it was coming straight for me."

The fish ultimately took the kayak all the way to Lake Worth, a 15-minute drive on Interstate 95.

Fisk cut the line then. The hammerhead swam away. Both will live to fight another day.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248.

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