Surprise! Bull Shark Interrupts Estuary Fishing (Video)

10-pound leader is no match for the muscular predator

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As we saw last week, tidal flats and estuaries are among the most fascinating places to fish. These highly productive ecosystems mark a point where many different species meet and interact, leaving plenty of potential for surprises. The host of Rocket’s Fishing Adventures had one such surprise while he fished for flathead near Brisbane, Australia. His hookup with a bull shark may not count as a catch, but it sure took him on an unexpected ride.

Bull Shark Interrupts Estuary Fishing

Hitting the water, Rocket talks about timing his launch to the tides. “I prefer a dropping tide going to a low, and then fishing the change of tide,” he says. On this day, the tide is incoming and won’t switch until he’s gone home. But Rocket hopes that fishing into the “bite period of dusk will bring on a bit of action. … Fingers crossed.”

kayak angler in Australia catches dusky flathead fish
Rocket lands a dusky flathead, a large, estuarine fish native to Australia’s east coast. The camouflaged, bottom-dwelling predator is somewhat similar to a flounder. | Image: Rocket’s Fishing Adventures/YouTube

As the tide rushes in, Rocket describes how baitfish are pushed back into the system “like a sushi train for predators.” He carefully casts into those spots in order to “imitate that…food source.” Aside from the tide, Rocket tweaks his tactics based on wind, weather and water quality. He soon decides to size up his jig head, because he can’t feel it hit and hold bottom as the tide rips through the shallows. The bottom of the water column is where dusky flathead are found.

The first action of the day is “a sleepy little flathead up here in the shallows, trying to get warm.” The angler reties his bait because the leader is scuffed, then feels another “telltale little tap.” It’s another smallish flathead. The next tap, however, turns out to be a bit stronger.

“Bull shark one, Rocket nil.”

Rocket feels a strike, then shouts in surprise as a bull shark jumps and twirls just past his bow. Is it hooked up, or chasing the fish that took his bait? The answer becomes clear as his reel screams, and the shark tows Rocket and his kayak across the estuary.

“I think I’m a little bit under gunned,” he says before the shark finally bites through his line. “I’m gonna call for a new set of underwear now, please.”

 

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