Biting the Fish that Feeds You

Opt Dee Kaminski Red Chewed by Bull Shark 4It’s not uncommon to hear of salt water anglers losing a nice fish at the boat due to sharks. It actually happens pretty regularly to powerboat anglers, but until recently I’d hadn’t heard of it happening much to kayak anglers. Enter Florida fishing guide Dee Kaminski, who guides out of a Native hybrid kayak known as an Ultimate. She was fishing one of her favorite Treasure Coast holes, following the baitfish, hoping to hook up with something nice, when her tactics paid off. A large school of reds suddenly started feeding on the baitfish near her ‘yak.  What happened next is a good reminder about the top of the food chain when you’re out at sea.  

As told by Dee Kaminski… 

“I launched from a favorite fishing spot near my home and paddled with an outgoing tide to a honey hole that’s produced a variety of trophy fish. Trying to match the bait school that was pushing through, I had rigged a Fat Sam mullet on a weedless jig.  

I am one for consistently looking around for any activity on top of the water and it is a good habit because it paid off this day. About an hour after getting to the hole, I saw a tremendous push of a HUGE school of 40 – 50 inch redfish plowing through the water and crushing bait. It looked like I would only get one or two chances to cast.  

Carefully placing the bait in front of the school, I waited as they approached. I made a small twitch, just strong enough to get the mullet off the bottom about an inch. It was picked up and I set the hook! It felt like a 45 minute sleigh ride that took me from the original hookup point all the way into the middle of the Indian River, a half mile away. Suddenly the red turned for shore, the original area I hooked up. Strange, I thought.  

She seemed be getting tired and so was I. Almost got the bull red to the kayak and in amazement, I see a HUGE shark tail come out of the water right where my redfish was.   

“Oh, NO!!”   

There was no fight left in the fish and it felt like reeling in a log. I was concerned at bringing in the ‘stump’ as it was leaving a trail of blood in the water and my thoughts were of the bull shark coming up to my kayak. I did manage to pull it into my kayak and lay it on my ruler. That bull shark chewed what was probably my biggest redfish to date at 50+ inches. All that was left was 30 inches of her. Still over slot though!  

Opt Dee Kaminski Red Chewed by Bull Shark 2There was nothing I could do with the “leftovers” so I decided to drag it into the mangroves and let Mother Nature deal with the rest. I can’t seem to get the image of that huge shark’s tail breaching and chewing on my trophy red.”  (Photos by Dee Kaminski) 

For more information on Dee’s kayak fishing guide service, click here: Reel Kayak Fishing 

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