It’s a tale as old as angling. You are in the fight of your life with a trophy fish, only to have it robbed by the jaws of a shark. John Skinner experienced this firsthand when he was in an endless fight, only to witness a shark attack his tarpon.
When Sharks Attack Tarpon
In the dawn hours of a spring day, John Skinner is motoring across the still waters in his Old Town Autopilot kayak to seek out tarpon. Late-April is early for the tarpon run in Florida, and Skinner isn’t holding his breath for any action, until he comes across a school surface feeding.
Skinner hooks up with what looks to be a five-foot tarpon. In his video, he is in an endless battle with the fish. The tarpon jumps to the surface multiple times, shaking its head in the visual maneuver tarpon are known for. But it’s the long runs which keep the fight between Skinner and tarpon ongoing.
Then, without warning, a shark attacks the tarpon. A smash of whitewater, the shark’s body thrashing across the surface, and Skinner’s fight is over. After an initial reaction, Skinner sits a moment in silence as the water quiets, as if nothing happened.
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Skinner reels in a severed tarpon head still attached to his hook. He lays what he has left, about three feet of the fish, across his lap.
The size of the shark that took half his tarpon shocks Skinner.
“Look, I’m not in Boca Grande here,” Skinners says, “I’m in six feet of water.”
“What kind of shark can do that? I’m guessing a bull.”
Skinner’s guess is a good one. Bull sharks, along with greater hammerheads, are both known to roam shallow waters and enjoy a good tarpon meal. Something for kayak anglers to keep in mind, there is always a bigger fish nearby.