Nantucket Man Catches Shark From Shore

There Once Was A Man From Nantucket....

Fisherman wrestles 7 -foot shark on Nantucket beach. . . and WINS

It is a rare achievement, taking on something that is at least in theory higher up on the food chain than you are... and winning. It is greater than Tortoise vs Hare or Coyote vs Roadrunner, because the quarry (or, in the case of the Hare, the heavy betting favorite) is incapable of turning the tables and consuming their former pursuer. This would be more like Whitey Bulger arresting cops.

However, there is a man from Nantucket who has balls so big that he can float across the Sound on them. This guy (Elliot Sudal) just moved here last summer, but he already owns one of the better fishing stories on the Grey Lady. It ends with him gaining brief national celebrity.

While surfcasting for bluefish off Sconset Beach, Sudal latched onto something a bit more substantial. After a 45 minute fight, he waded into the water and wrestled ashore a 7 foot, 200 pound brown shark.

The brown shark, also known as the Sandbar Shark or Sand Shark, is a local resident (brown sharks were common around here long before our current Chatham seal/shark difficulties), tends to favor shallow areas and sand bars. They range from here to Brazil, and eat things like fish, crabs, and rays. They are not known to prey on humans, but they could take a nice chomp out of you if the desire to do so seized them. Sudal latched on to one of the larger ones of that sort.

That didn't bother Sudal. Once he reeled the shark into grabbing distance (this column ever and always advises you not to wrestle sharks in deeper water), he pulled the leviathan ashore by her tail... which is the best way to grab and beach a shark, in case you ever have to do so for some reason. The shark was kind enough to pose for some pictures, before Sudal released it back into the water. It then resumed whatever it was doing before Sudal hooked it.

I assume it cost him a hook and some bait, maybe even a lure. That is a small cost to pay when the alternatives include "needlessly kill an innocent creature that you don't intend to eat" and/or "stick your hands into the mouth of an apex predator and make him really angry by tearing a hook out of his cheek, all so you can get your $5 Wal-Mart lure back." That second option is rather wordy and can be wiggled down some, but we wanted you to know the full stakes that the game is played for.

This would place highly on any angler's best fishing story list. I have a few. My husband caught a bluefish from the couch once, while watching a Pats preseason game. I've written about that before, check the archives for more details.

I also know another guy- a former Ranger, one of the Colonel's friends- who had a Great White Shark swim about 20 feet above him while he was scuba diving. The better part of his story is that, after the shark passed, he swam back up to his boat. Unfortunately, the anchor was stuck. Cut the line and vamoose, right? Wrong. He dove back in, went to the bottom, and wrestled his anchor loose. A lot of the truly elite fishing stories involve locals who are too stingy to replace fishing equipment, and instead risk being consumed by what is essentially an SUV with teeth.

Anyhow, if you cut/paste that link (or if someone at the office reads this and is kind enough to embed the video for me), you can watch the coda of the battle. No sharks or humans were harmed (much) in the filming of that video.

That video again. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on