SEALINE - South African Angling and Boating Community Home 
Home Recent Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register


 Moderated by: Emperor
New Topic Reply Printer Friendly
Landing and Handling of Sharks  Rating:  Rating
 
AuthorPost
 Posted: Tue Jun 22nd, 2010 11:37 am
  PM Quote Reply
1st Post
Trophy
Sealine Expert - Rock and Surf


Joined: Fri May 16th, 2008
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Posts: 7646
Equipment: Sponsored by Trophy Tackle Den & Awa Shima
Best Catch: 41.5Kg Cob, 290Kg Raggie, 138Kg Cow, 150Kg Bronzie(M), 160 Black ...
Favorite Fishing Spot: St Francis
Boat: 5.5m Viking Cabin, 75 Mercury
Club: Oh Please...RASSPL
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

Landing & Handling of Sharks


 By Brett Harris

Being fishermen we so often over complicate the simple facts to fishing.


The debate will rage and anglers will always offer different views and standpoints to the handling of sharks. I don’t think it’s to fair to point fingers unless it’s obvious that the angler has caused serious harm to the fish.

The basics have been posted so many times in various threads, but in efforts to further educate its well worth posting some of the common handling suggestions again.

Sharks, unlike most other boney fish, don’t have a rigid skeleton made from bone and cartilage. They instead have a partial cartilaginous skeleton. Sharks do have vestigial ribs which function only as a protective measure, but cannot in theory support the dry mass of their body weight. Scientists generally believe that Sharks have evolved a cartilage structure to ‘lighten the load’. Cartilage is lighter than bone and because of the detached structure it allows the shark more maneuverability and allows sharks to hunt in the manner in which they need to survive. It is also important to note that although, unlike bone, cartilage continues to grow throughout a shark’s life. However if cartilage is broken, parted or cracked, again unlike bone, it has no means of repairing the damaged areas.



Sharks also have larger soft tissue organs than most fish; these highly advanced organs play both a vital and significant role in the structure (anatomy) and bodily functions (physiology) of every day life. Two of the largest organs serve vital ‘secondary’ functions and are unique to sharks. Without hard calcium bones and bone marrow the red blood cells are produced in the kidneys as well as a specialised organ called the Epigonal. White blood cells are created in the Spleen and Spiral Valve contained within the intestines. The Heart is also located in most cases along the bottom of sharks and positioned just under or directly in front of the gills. Sharks have no swim bladder, and the liver also plays a vital role in buoyancy, without which it would simply sink to the sea bed

Shark fins and tail fins are highly developed and the number, positions and functions differ from species to species. Fins serve three functions only and serve as propulsion, stability or defense. Again, the functions will differ from species to species. The attachment of various fins to the cartilaginous skeleton differs by the function the fin serves. It is a general rule that fins used for propulsion and stability have greater attachment than those used for protection.



There are loads more interesting facts about the anatomy and physiology of sharks. Their amazing evolutionary adaptations are now starting to both baffle and intrigue science to study and understand their amazing survival story. Until mans negative influence sharks were the kings of the ocean and masters of survival. Commercial exploitation accounts for millions upon millions of sharks annually and until this situation is corrected there is no doubt that many species will become extinct. The impact that sports and recreational angling is small by comparison, but still accountable.

Although the awareness for ‘catch and release’ has caused much uproar amongst recreational shark fishing it must be said that sharks are still as tough as nails and are definitely not made of crystal glass. Joe public and fellow anglers alike are quick to chastise what they see as rough or unnecessary handling of sharks before being released.



A recent topic on South Africa’s most active and largest angling web forum (http://www.sealine.co.za) debated the successful release and survival of a Ragged Tooth Shark, captured, handled, posed and photographed. The debate raged and many made bold statements assuming that the shark would never survive such an ‘ordeal’. The experienced angler, whose actions were in question, is a keen supporter of a national tag and release program and was vindicated a few short months later. His released shark was recaptured, in excellent health and over 250Km away from its original point of capture. 

For over a decade the Namibian commercial recreational angling guides have literally tagged and released thousands of Bronze Whaler sharks. The data recorded by the recapture of many sharks shows that the mortality rate is not as high as we have been lead to believe.

These are some of the simple measures employed by experienced ‘catch and release’ anglers which should help ensure the survival of your Trophy catch.

Gaffing:

The gaffing of sharks should be an absolute last option to safely land your catch. In most cases the use of a gaff can be completely avoided. When fishing off the beach there is no reason to ever gaff a shark. An experienced angler can easily handle the shark onto the beach. When fishing off rock peninsulas and ledges its important to scout the immediate area for suitable rock gullies where your catch can be landed safely. If there are no suitable spots in the immediate area it’s often possible to steer a fish towards a nearby beach where the fish can be safely handled.

When planning your strategy take note of the swell and current directions towards your landing points. Take note of the tides and water levels and the possible effect this may have when the water levels have either dropped or risen.

If having to gaff the fish is the only option then the same observations need to happen to ensure that you vantage is safe and offers a stable platform. Gaffing should only be done by an experienced angler who understands the shark’s anatomy. Sharks should only be gaffed in the dorsal fin region. A shark’s skin is incredibly tough and there is no reason to bury the gaff deeply into the fish. Experienced anglers often refer to gaffing as a dorsal ‘prick’. It’s important to use the ocean swells to assist the angler to pull the shark from the water.

Handling:

Tearing the cartilage in a shark’s skeletal structure is a permanent injury and can also affect muscle function and will ultimately cause the death of the shark long after release. A basic rule of thumb is to support the handling on as many fins as possible. Pulling the full dry weight of a shark by the tail or pectoral fin only will cause damage.

As sharks vital organs are not supported by any skeleton, where possible it is always best to support 1/3 of shark’s body in water throughout the handling. Sitting on the body of a shark removed from the water will cause damage to the vital organs after release.

Sharks build up levels of ammonia in their bodies during any fight. During prolonged fights the buildup can cause severe tissue poisoning and reduce the amounts of oxygen in the body. Classic signs of fatal fatigue will cause a pinkish coloration on the belly, nose and fins of the shark. Sharks in this state should be handled quickly and returned as soon as possible. The buildup of ammonia in sharks will also have an effect for days after release; the effects would be similar to the effects of lactic acids in athletes.

A shark should spend no more than 5 min out of the water before being returned. To achieve this, an experienced angler should carry all the tools required to remove the hardware, measure the size and take his trophy photograph.

These are basic steps and should be taken by all anglers in pursuit of these amazing fish. If we all play our part and become aware of our fishing habits the survival of our catches will be increased. Nobody likes seeing the carcass of a trophy fish washed up on the beach!

Tight Lines,

Trophy (aka Brett Harris)

 

Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Tue Jun 22nd, 2010 12:07 pm
  PM Quote Reply
2nd Post
Mike D
Senior Member


Joined: Mon May 10th, 2010
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 1703
Equipment: Loomis & Franklin - SLH50/30
Best Catch: Waiting for 10kg Cobb
Favorite Fishing Spot: West Coast - Franskraal
Boat: None
Club: No
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
Hugely enlightening! I would imagine this could however be a topic of debate, in particular with the conservationist, although I don't doubt you too are a conservationist. Certainly not the avenues to be embarked upon by the inexperienced angler.

Great post Brett!

 

Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Tue Jun 22nd, 2010 12:33 pm
  PM Quote Reply
3rd Post
Richard Ohagan
Senior Member


Joined: Tue Jul 31st, 2007
Location: Durban Northdene, South Africa
Posts: 468
Equipment: Poseidon, Assassin, Diawa SL 50 ,SL 30, SL 20 ...
Best Catch: Any fish is good
Favorite Fishing Spot: Anywhere there is salt water
Boat: No
Club: No
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
Wow what an awesome post, very informative, thanks Brett!
This post has got me wondering now, in a Magazine article that I read a while back, there was a shark that had lost its dorsal fin to shark finners, to what extent would this shark be affected with respect to manoeverability(spelling?)etc. The shark looked to be in good condition and the fin wound had healed up well.Does this show how adaptable sharks really are? Any comment on this?

Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Wed Sep 15th, 2010 09:27 am
  PM Quote Reply
4th Post
fishbonze
Senior Member


Joined: Fri Jun 25th, 2010
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 254
Equipment: Shimano
Best Catch: 200.58kg Black Stingray ...
Favorite Fishing Spot: Struisbaai
Boat: None
Club: 2OAC
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
Thnks 4 the post hav recently startd shark fish , so tht info really help me alot ::tyt lines .

Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Wed Sep 22nd, 2010 11:09 am
  PM Quote Reply
5th Post
Stormers
Member
 

Joined: Wed Sep 22nd, 2010
Location: Alberton , South Africa
Posts: 3
Equipment: L/Franklin13ft, Torium 30. Kingfisher
Best Catch: Black Tip Shark -+60kg
Favorite Fishing Spot: Mazeppa Baai / Koffie Baai
Boat: my no 12 feet hehe
Club: Private
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
Goeie dag, ek wonder of daar iemand is wat my kan help , eks opsoek na n "lentgh to weight table" vir Suid Sfrikaanse haai soorte? Sal hoogliks waardeer word.

Groete,

Anton.

Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Wed Sep 22nd, 2010 11:40 am
  PM Quote Reply
6th Post
kopstamp
Sealiner


Joined: Wed Sep 24th, 2008
Location: Knysna, South Africa
Posts: 5298
Equipment: torium20,30.50,biggame.45-60 bloublasie and greenmamba,pocketrocket
Best Catch: 240Raggie149kblackray,110kgBronzi81kg Duckbill60kgdiamond50kgcob ...
Favorite Fishing Spot: The Point,
Boat: 16ft Calibre, 60hp Yammie
Club: 
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
kyk hier

http://www.sealine.co.za/view_topic.php?id=29368&forum_id=1&highlight=sasaa+table

hoop dit help

Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Wed Sep 22nd, 2010 12:23 pm
  PM Quote Reply
7th Post
Stormers
Member
 

Joined: Wed Sep 22nd, 2010
Location: Alberton , South Africa
Posts: 3
Equipment: L/Franklin13ft, Torium 30. Kingfisher
Best Catch: Black Tip Shark -+60kg
Favorite Fishing Spot: Mazeppa Baai / Koffie Baai
Boat: my no 12 feet hehe
Club: Private
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
Baie dankie, is daar nie een wat mens sommer in jou vissak kan hou wat klaar uitgewerk is nie. Hierdie een is soos n calculator en het nie altyd toegang tot dit langs die water nie.

Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Wed Sep 22nd, 2010 01:52 pm
  PM Quote Reply
8th Post
kopstamp
Sealiner


Joined: Wed Sep 24th, 2008
Location: Knysna, South Africa
Posts: 5298
Equipment: torium20,30.50,biggame.45-60 bloublasie and greenmamba,pocketrocket
Best Catch: 240Raggie149kblackray,110kgBronzi81kg Duckbill60kgdiamond50kgcob ...
Favorite Fishing Spot: The Point,
Boat: 16ft Calibre, 60hp Yammie
Club: 
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
daar is een.

doen n search vir arno nel. hy het so een opgesit.

Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 09:08 am
  PM Quote Reply
9th Post
Stormers
Member
 

Joined: Wed Sep 22nd, 2010
Location: Alberton , South Africa
Posts: 3
Equipment: L/Franklin13ft, Torium 30. Kingfisher
Best Catch: Black Tip Shark -+60kg
Favorite Fishing Spot: Mazeppa Baai / Koffie Baai
Boat: my no 12 feet hehe
Club: Private
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
baie dankie Kopstamp!

Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 09:46 am
  PM Quote Reply
10th Post
KLIPVIS
Sealiner


Joined: Wed Mar 7th, 2007
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 1724
Equipment: Assasin Blade ,Gremlins 700+1 HMG, Loomis , Torium's, TLD20/40
Best Catch: 187kg Bronsie ,140kg Raggie ,45kg Spearnose , 20kg cob ... ...
Favorite Fishing Spot: Struisbaai plaat , Terrace bay
Boat: 6mt cat super duck , 2 x 70 yamaha
Club: TRS
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
LEKA BRETT ! LETS NOT ONLY LAND A FISH AND HOPE IT SURVIVES , LETS MAKE SURE IT SURVIVES.

Back To Top PM Quote Reply


Current time is 09:27 am  
SEALINE - South African Angling and Boating Community > General Angling Topics > Sealine - F.A.Q's and Articles > Articles > Landing and Handling of Sharks Top