Huge catch turns into rescue mission for shark pups

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Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 4:19 pm

VENICE, Fla. – It’s no secret that some large sharks roam the Gulf waters off the Suncoast. But an angler’s recent encounter with an estimated 12-foot long hammerhead in Venice resulted in an incredible turn of events that was caught on video.

Sarasota resident Noe Campos loves to catch sharks. “We fish off the beach. No kill at all."

Saturday night near the Venice fishing pier he and some buddies hooked a big one. "We knew it was a big fish because it was just stripping line off a lot."

While reeling it in it got tangled around a piling. "We tried to work it loose but we couldn't".

So what did Noe do? He swam out of course.

Ashley Travis says she couldn't believe her eyes. She later posted the video to the Venice Scoop Facebook page. "My first thought was get out your camera and start videotaping."

"I wasn't thinking it might bite me. It was more that I wanted to save the fish. It was a big fish; I would rather save the fish,” says Campos.

After a few minutes in the water with what turned out to be a 12 foot hammerhead, Noe was able to get a rope around it and pull it to shore.

Then the surprises started.

The hammerhead was dying. While reeling it in, something had taken a huge chunk out of the fish. "We turned it on its side and saw a big bite mark taken out of it."

Then they saw pups coming out the side. Noe and friends started to perform a C-section of sorts. "They survived. The ones I put in the water, they took right off."

Scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say if the pups were fully developed, it's possible they survived.

Ashley says she saw at least 20. "People still don't believe me. They don't think it was real."

She also has a new appreciation for the water. "I am definitely having second thoughts about swimming in the ocean again."

Noe says it's a shame the mother died, saying they did what they could to lessen the impacts. "I just tried to save the fish. I thank everyone for helping."

Warning: Video contains graphic language and images


Video courtesy: Ashley Travis

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  • Issis posted at 6:32 pm on Tue, May 13, 2014.

    Issis Posts: 3

    I agree with other comments re: not understanding "catch & release" and the sense, by those who do it, that it is just good, clean, fun. How is it humane to pierce a fish, cause it to fight for it's life, drag it over a rough boat or dock edge or onto shore, pull out the barbed hook (not always without damage while the fish is flailing and gasping) just for bragging rights? While I appreciate the attempt to unhook the fish, cutting open the fish while still alive to release the young was also barbaric ... although perhaps the only way in which the young could be saved. Was Mote Marine or other wildlife experts called? Anyone who fishes should have their number and other wildlife agencies (especially Pelican Rescues, since so many are ensnared in fishing lines/hooks). Fishing is never humane, although for those who actually eat what they catch, bearable. Still, it never ceases to amaze me that fishing is promoted as a "fun" sport; that fisher(wo)men and their friends think nothing of holding up a gasping, dying fish for photos, without regard for the cruelty of their indifference. They also seem to be completely indifferent to the hours fish remain on hold lines while they continue fishing, or that they are often allowed to suffocate rather then being killed quickly and as humanely as possible. It's a brutal activity, promoted as a family activity in part because it is such a money maker for so many different commercial entities.

  • Leprechaun Kid posted at 2:06 pm on Mon, May 12, 2014.

    Leprechaun Kid Posts: 1

    So all you wanted to do was save the shark that you endangered in the first place for recreation. Will it occur to you next time that the shark you hook and release might also be a pregnant female forced to fight and suffer to the end of her life and her babies lost because you are just having fun? Why not catch pregnant dogs and cats and "play" with them? No, 'cause that would be immoral and illegal. And it would make you and your friends look like psychopaths, right?

  • BigT posted at 12:35 pm on Mon, May 12, 2014.

    BigT Posts: 1

    I hate, hate, hate people who catch and release. You just inflict potentially fatal trauma on wildlife for sport? What is wrong with you?


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