With more and more adventuresome anglers turning to one-person kayaks these days, that means great fodder for the Offbeat Outdoors blog!
Great White Leaves Mark
A great white shark dumped a fisherman from his one-man kayak into the ocean for a brief time as he fished with a group of kayak-angling enthusiasts off California’s San Mateo Coast. The angler fortunately was unhurt in the incident, but his craft now bears the signature marks of one of the ocean’s most-feared predators.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported 18 kayakers—all members of the NorCal Kayak Anglers group—launched off Bean Hollow State Beach around 7 a.m. and split into two groups. The victim—identified on the organization’s Web site only as Dan—reportedly paddled about a mile offshore, where he fished for rockfish with other NCKA members.
“Everyone had been fishing for a while—for a good two, three hours,” NCKA member John Dale told the Chronicle. “From what he told me, basically he was fishing and was adjusting a lure, and all of a sudden he was thrown from his kayak into the water. When he came up, he thought he had been hit by a boat, but when he looked the shark was still on the front of his kayak, latched on, gnawing on the kayak. He thought about it for a second and decided he better get back onto the kayak, even though it was still on the nose.”
According to eyewitness accounts of the incident appearing on the NCKA Web site, Dan kept his wits about him, remained calm and climbed back into his craft. He paddled back to shore—quickly—while accompanied by fellow boaters.
On his way in, the victim reportedly tumbled from his kayak a couple of times, the result of a seat that was loosened during the attack. In addition, puncture holes in the craft’s bottom caused some leaking.
Steven Lam, a club member who witnessed Dan climbing back into his craft after the attack, wrote on the Web site that he was impressed with the angler’s self-rescuing skills and calm demeanor.
“It goes without saying that Dan did an excellent job in self rescuing and for staying focused and composed throughout the ordeal. Obviously, I also called it the day right then and there and followed Dan back in...”
After the experience, Lam concluded that he may hone-up on his own emergency skills before heading back out onto big water.
“Maybe it’s time for me to try the lake and learn some self-rescuing before heading out (to) the big blue again,” he wrote.
Kayaker Battles Canadian Wolf
A long-distance kayaker was traversing parts of British Columbia, Canada on a solitary trip when he was attacked by a hunger-crazed wolf on a remote beach earlier.
The unnamed paddler told wildlife authorities he used his bare hands to fight off the attacking wolf for a few long minutes, suffering multiple bites to his leg and hands as he fought to pry its jaws apart and put it in a headlock. He eventually was able to drag himself and the wolf to his boat, where he retrieved a 4-inch knife and began repeatedly stabbing the animal until it was near death.
British Columbia wildlife authorities said there was no doubt about the wolf’s intentions.
“This was a predatory wolf attack,” conservation officer James Zucchelli told the Vancouver Sun newspaper. “That fellow was perceived as a prey source. He was attacked with intent to eat. The wolf saw him and took off running at him.”
Using only his medium-sized knife, the kayaker punctured the wolf dozens of times in its neck and chest area before it limped away into the brush to die.
Afterwards, unable to paddle due to his hand injuries, the kayaker was rescued by the Canadian Coast Guard after he called for help on his marine radio.
Upon investigating the incident and discovering the wolf’s carcass, it was found that the animal was not rabid, but weighed only 55 pounds—far less than the average of 88 pounds for a healthy female.
A necropsy found the wolf’s stomach contained a river otter jaw, a feather and bones from a fish scavenged from the beach.
Fortunately, no kayaker parts were discovered in the digestive tract.
“There was nothing good in its stomach--shrapnel off the beach,” Zucchelli said.
Kayaks & Hammerheads Don’t Mix
It’s becoming common to see anglers using kayaks for a variety of fishing endeavors these days, on big and small water alike. But after a close encounter with a hammerhead shark significantly larger than his craft, a Florida angler said the next time he returns to tarpon waters, it won’t be in a kayak.
First, Tampa kayaker Michael Rementer hooked a big tarpon off Sanibel Island. As he was fighting it, the kayaker spotted the mass of a huge 14-foot hammerhead shark protruding from under his craft.
Hammerheads are a common sight in the tarpon-heavy waters off Florida’s west coast this time of year.
The angler said the huge shark bumped his kayak two or three times while the tarpon found refuge under his partner’s kayak.
The tarpon broke off and no one was hurt in the incident.
“It was the scariest day of my life,” Rementer told local outdoors writer Frank Sargeant. “I won’t be near a hooked tarpon in the Gulf of Mexico in a kayak ever again.”