Sharks and then some!
Shark Eats Man - Man Eats Shark (chapt. 5)
in Fish Tales and Ocean Oddballs
Captain William B. Gray
Copyright 1970 A.S. Barnes and Co.
Link to NJ Fishing Consumer Alert page Link to NJ Fishing Consumer Alert page
Dead sharks on the beach
"The sharks devoured our whale, so for revenge and film footage, we dragged a few out onto the sand beach."  (Photos by Burress )
The following is from a 1970 paperback called "Fish Tales and Ocean Oddballs" written by Captain William B. Gray and published by A.S. Barnes and Co. in 1970. Gray was at the time "Director of Specimen Collections and Exhibits at the  famed Miami Seaquarium" and the back cover blurb describes the book as one "…that will fascinate and educate people - even those who have never before so much as baited a hook" then later states "Throughout the book the author demonstrates his concern for the sport of fishing." 

The excerpt is included here not as an indictment of Captain Gray and his companions but to show how dramatically our attitudes about sea life have changed in the relatively short time of 27 years. Imagine, if you can, something similar being published today! But unfortunately, much of the anti-commercial fishing sentiment we are dealing with today had it's roots in activities that were accepted as the norm when Captain Gray wrote his book - and before then. Indiscriminate killing of anything "that swam" wasn't the sole province of the commercial fisherman, and it also wasn't considered the "crime" that it is today. 



While movie-making about the vicinity of the Pearl Islands off the west coast of Panama, we harpooned a 35 foot whale. Brother Captain Herman, George Vanderbilt and I fought it all day from a 26 foot seaskiff and killed it late in the afternoon. Paul Burress, our photographer, had ground out hundreds of feet of film, but was still not satisfied. He wanted more accurate shots of the dead whale, but it was getting dark. We towed the huge body into a quiet and peaceful cove and anchored it for the night. 

We returned after daylight next morning to resume picture taking and were surprised to discover that a great pack of sharks had set upon the whale during the darkness and had eaten it beyond the point of recognition. There was little but the carcass of the whale left and the waters of the immediate area were literally teeming with many varieties of sharks. Some of them were still picking at the remains. 

 To satisfy Paul's mania for action pictures, as well as our own urge for revenge, we decided to declare a private war against the beastly destroyers that had defeated our picture plans. 

"All right," said brother Herm, "if it's action you want, I think we can get some." He proceeded to attach a heavy rope line on a chained shark hook. He baited it with a good chunk of whale meat and waded out as far as he dared, and cast the bait into the midst of the pack. Then, as he scrambled out of the water to safety, we heaved on the line and practically ran up the beach dragging the surprised thrashing critter high and dry out on the beach. 
We repeated this operation until the beach was strewn with sharks. Paul, for once in his life, said, "I think I have enough picture footage for this deal, so let's knock it off."