Shark Fishing Legends
Written by Spencer Wonder
“”We’ve been spending quite a bit of time reflecting on the last few years and how far we’ve come both as anglers and from a business perspective.
Our first “expeditionary” style adventure was during 2019, and that single experience kick started what has come to be a lifestyle for myself and my very valuable team of likeminded anglers!
I felt it was time to highlight some of the most noteworthy catches of our career, so below are what I personally value as my “Top 10”, organized by size, not by significance.
1: Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) 16′ TL,(2019): Our first taste of real giant fish will likely stand as our largest for the duration of our career! At 16′ flat (trust us, we taped it over and over to be sure!) this animal is, to our knowledge, the largest ever measured catch LBSF style, and while it will most certainly be beat someday, we feel honored to have gotten to release this animal so early in our career.
2. Pacific Sleeper Shark (Somniosus pacificus) 15’4″ TL (2021): Not only was this specimen the first (that we know of) of its kind to ever be caught from shore, it is also the largest ever measured of the species, and the fruit of one of the single most difficult expeditions we’ve ever undertook. We recently attempted to duplicate this expedition in search of larger specimens and failed. Perhaps this will be a one-of-a-kind catch for the LBSF world….
3. Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) 14’5″ TL (2021): This Hawaiian sea-monster is currently (again, to the best of my knowledge) the largest Tiger Shark ever landed LBSF style, and was a hard fought victory after numerous setbacks due to the conditions and location! Prior to this fish the largest Tiger Shark we had seen was under 10′ and no comparison or preparation for the giants we encountered in the islands. We have several other giant tiger destinations and expeditions slated for 2023, so perhaps we can beat our own PB, but the bar is set exceptionally high!
4. Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata) 14’+ TL (unmeasured) (2021): One of our personal favorites and biggest in terms of length, this monster Sawfish was one of only three weve ever encountered, and a total surprise! We hope to never see another, as the encounter left all of us scarred physically!
5. Common Thresher Shark (Alopias vulpinus) 12’+ TL (unmeasured) (2019): At somewhere between 12 and 13′ total length, this giant Thresher was a milestone for LBSF as the first significant specimen of the species caught legitimately from shore, and still sits atop the pile as the largest of the species landed from shore as far as we know. This single fish sparked a revolution here in California that led to countless other anglers participating in this magnificent fishery, something
we are quite proud of and happy to see!
6. Greater Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) 12’+ TL (unmeasured) (2020): We HATE hammer fishing, but when this giant crashed our Panhandle tiger shark party we were happy to get to release it alive. Unfortunately there was no tape measure available (not everyone involved in the catch was physically up for the challenge) but the animal got released clean and hopefully went on to make many more little hammers!
7. Prickly Shark (Echinorhinus cookei) 10′ TL (possibly larger due to tape difficulties) (2020): This represents one of the first (the rest were also caught during our exploration of this fishery) of the species ever caught from shore! While we are generally proud of discovering new fishieries, this is one we wish we had left undiscovered as it has now been exploited by irresponsible anglers and significantly declined likely die to high post release mortality and poor release practices.
8. Black Seabass (Stereolepis gigas) 7’6″ TL (2019): This fish is very special to me and my group, as we have caught her twice now and been humbled both times by her power and strength. These massive wreckfish may look like a grouper, but their powerful runs are reminiscent of a hammerhead for their duration and speed! This is the largest We have ever seen, and certainly the largest landbased specimen we know of.
9. Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) 6′ TL (unmeasured) (2019): While a small specimen in the scheme of the species, this is the first ever LBSF Mako on the West Coast, and the largest to date from the Pacific Coast of the US as well. This fish was a gateway to pelagics fishing for us, and led to the discovery of so many other fantastic methods and species that we are so very thankful for!
10. Blue Shark (Prionace glauca) 6′ TL (Unmeasured) (2022): While not large, this specimen is the fruition of nearly 4 years and thousands of miles of attempts! The first LBSF Blue Shark for the West Coast, and possibly the first intentional catch of the species from shore in the US.
Choosing these 10 fish was challenging, as there are so many others that could have made the cut. Our team has seen easily 19 fish over 12′ in the last 4 years, 8 over 14′, and at least 3 over 15′.
We are eternally grateful for the support of the community that allows us the freedom to fish at this level, and hope to take this sport even further in the coming years!
If you want the rigs and gear we used to each and every one of these magnificent catches, be sure to visit www.TerraFirmaTackle.com or www.SharkFishingWorldwide.com for the good stuff!””
Peter Buban a native of Slovakia is a big guy at 5 ft 10 inches and 230 lbs he is built like a pro NFL running back and he like to test his powerful physique against some of the most powerful sharks
that swim the blue near shore waters of West Palm Beach in Florida. It was Peter’s passion to do battle with big sharks that prompted him to move to south Florida in 2013 to specifically target those
huge sharks and right away he did just that. When he started fishing the local beaches of west palm he brought a new fire into the game of of land based shark fishing by catching several over 13 foot hammerhead sharks
Right away the other shark fishermen noticed him and started asking themselves ‘who is this guy with Russian accent and big muscles catching all these monster hammerheads’?? He would soon enough prove himself
without a doubt his strength and ability to catch the biggest of sharks . Peter made himself known in the shark fishing community right away he sparked a movement away from the traditional Penn Senator big game reels used by other shark
fishermen to the newer better designed and stronger gold Shimano Tiagra 130 lever drag reels . In 2014 he made his debut into competitive land based shark fishing by decimating the field of other anglers competing in Josh Jorgensen’s
Blacktip Challenge Shark Tournament with the capture of a 13 feet 9 inch hammerhead shark that won him the top prize in the tournament. Over the years Peter has caught many huge tiger sharks including a male specimen over 14 foot long
and huge bull sharks some near 10 foot long both sizes which are near the very top for those two species. Peter Buban also has the distinction oh having caught what is probably the largest shark ever from a Florida inlet jetty it was a huge hammerhead
shark well over 13 foot long caught on a day when the surf was too rough so he kayaked a bait into the middle of Palm Beach inlet and then hooked and fought that shark for over an hour from the wet and slippery concrete jetty. The huge shark was released with help
of his friends from the breakwater boulders of the jetty as the waves tossed them around . Its all on Josh’s Youtube channel BlacktipH. Not many other other Florida shark fishermen have caught the number of huge sharks that Peter has caught in less then 10 years and he
continues to rack up a list of extraordinary catches from the very same shores where first started in Florida. Peter Buban has without a doubt become a Florida shark fishing Legend.
The eldest South Florida Shark Club member James Fuqua aka Jimbo, aka
JD Hammer,aka JD was the father of shark fishing on the old South Beach
pier since the early 1970s.
Don’t let James Fuqua’s soft spoken and kind demeanor fool you he is a
passionate shark hunter that has for decades been teaching the younger
generations the sport of land based
shark fishing on piers ,bridges, jetties and on beaches throughout the
state of Florida. JD taught the legendary South Beach pier shark
fishermen Rene Dedios the ropes of pier shark fishing and Rene
became obsessed with the sport and soon became better than his
teacher . JD has by a long shot the most hours practicing the sport and
without a doubt the most miles traveling to catch those sharks
throughout the entire state of Florida .JD is a well known and loved
angler who has fished on most of the best land based fishing spots
around the state both east coast and west coast. JD was Team Captain for many years of Team Hammer N the Phenoms a group of South Beach
standout shark fishermen which included Shannon Bustamante. On any given day you can find James Fuqua fishing not only the bridges in the Florida
Keys but quite possibly in the Everglades catching big largemouth bass
or on one of the many fishing piers up and down Florida’s east coast.
James Fuqua lives to fish and we are all glad to call him friend.
From the state of Texas Eric Ozolins is to many the top land based shark fishermen who has represented the sport better anyone on record for many years .In 2008 when I created this website Oz
as he is known already had his website www.extremecoast.com a Texas based website at a time when only a handful shark fishing websites existed. Eric Ozolins is a man who wears many hats
and does wears them all well not only is he a very talented shark fishing guide on Padre Island National Seashore (PINS)year round but a talented writer who has a monthly column on Texas Saltwater Fishing
Magazine where many times he writes about shark fishing adventures or kayak fishing adventures another of his passions. For decades Oz has been fishing the Padre Island National Seashore camping and
and fishing for days at a time and he has studied and learned it’s secrets. His knowledge of that stretch of Texas coast sets him in a league all his own. He knows and understands the seasons, the bait movements,
tides, the species of sharks most likely to bite and what time of the year to target them he is truly unparalleled as a Texas shark fishing guide. His time spent on those beaches has made him an authority on Texas land based
shark fishing. Oz has caught some of the largest sharks ever caught from Texas beaches including giant hammerhead sharks over 14 feet long, massive tiger , bull and dusky sharks and a collection of large mako
sharks unmatched by anyone in Texas. Eric Ozolins collection and variety of large sharks caught from a beach is quite impressive yet he remains a quiet humble family man. Not Only has he guided many shark
fishermen to catch there dream shark but Oz is a proud father of two beautiful girls whom he often takes on his adventures. Eric Ozolins without a doubt is one the very best representatives we have in the land
based shark fishing communities.
Jack Swack Hammer
LEGENDARY LAND BASED SHARK FISHERMEN -the solo sharking phenom
Florida East coast based Craig Guccione aka ‘Jack Swack Hammer’ has
become one of the most consistently productive land based shark
and he has done it mostly while fishing solo. He has caught many large
tiger ,dusky and bulls sharks and has to his credit a handful of 13
foot plus hammerhead sharks.
Craig has had to be invent many ways to fight the big sharks without
the assistance of a crew he sometimes ties the back of his fighting
harness to spike
in the sand to keep from getting dragged into the ocean. Very few shark
fishermen have attempted what he does routinely-catch huge sharks single
Many times to get pictures of the sharks he catches he has had to ask
total strangers to photograph him with some of his big sharks and yet in
many of his pics
you see only his face next to the head or tail of a big shark. He and
a group of friends have also traveled far to catch what is considered
the Apex predator of the seas the Great White shark. Craig is a solo sharking phenom.
Earnie Polk is one of the best shark fishermen to ever catch sharks from
a pier. He is a Florida panhandle native who grew up
fishing the Navarre Pier where he honed the skill at pier sharking along
other great shark hunter like Rody Pate. Earnie Polk is Team Captain
of Team True Blue a shark fishing crew of land based anglers mostly
based out of Navarre pier that have several World Records among the
group members .He
personally holds various Land Based Shark Fishing World Records. In
2010, Polk became the world record holder for catching an 11-foot-9-inch
at an estimated weight of 928 pounds. Earnie has developed techniques
shark baits from the end of the pier using a kayak turned into a Remote
Control bait boat, he also invented a very useful leader cutoff tool
allows sharks to be safely released from the pier without the angler
coming in contact with the water.
the South Beach pier phenom. This is brief LOOK INTO THE
LIFE OF A SHARK FISHING LEGEND
“INSPIRATION and DEDICATION those two words often define and separate
the good from the great in any endeavor”.
Becoming great takes hard work and an undaunting spirit ,it takes vision
and faith in oneself.
This is a glimpse into what it took for Rene de Dios to become great in
land-based shark fishermen .If you study his intensity you will better
understand what made him such a fine shark fishermen ;you might capture
the essence of Rene’s magic.
In Rene’s life there were two important things his shark fishing and his
daughter Erica whom he singlehandedly raised as a single father. He
dedication to his daughter ran parallel to his shark fishing. His
daughter would get awards for perfect attendance year after year and
although Rene would spend nights fishing he was always on time to take
care of his daughter–don’t ask me how he did it ,but he did it.
World Record Tiger Shark holder Walter Maxwell (RIP) still holds the only IGFA world record of a shark caught from a fishing pier and it was
done in 1964 on the Cherry Grove pier in South Carolina .
The shark was a Tiger shark 1780 lbs and it weighed 13 ft 10 1/2 inches.
Here is a little of his story…
Not every heavyweight record requires big bucks, or big boats. Walter Maxwell managed the tiger shark record without a boat, fighting chair,
skipper or other help. He caught his fish off a Carolina pier.
He remembers the one that got away best. “The big one nearly overlapped the pier’s end,” he said. “That’s 20 feet long.” “The little one I caught only went 13 1/2 feet and, after losing an estimated 10 percent
of its body weight, weighed in at 1,780 pounds.
While this record may be broken, it won’t be broken from a Carolina
pier. After jaws, shore communities barred pier fishing for sharks on
the theory it wouldn’t help tourism.
Back in 1964, Maxwell, a very fit bricklayer, noted, “Shark fishing was big. We could see stripes on tiger sharks that cruised off the piers. I
thought I knew why more fish weren’t caught.
Fishermen didn’t have the right kind of gear.” Maxwell geared up with a 16/0 left-handed Penn Senator purchased at a bargain $135. With a custom rod, 1,300 yards of 130 pound test on the reel and a five pound skate bait on 14/0 Mustad hooks whipped onto a bit less than 30 feet of steel cable, he was ready.
After losing a huge shark on Saturday when it swam away with his pier gaff cutting a periscope wake, Maxwell changed his approach. A couple of 10 foot fish hit on other lines.
Then, in the confusion, Maxwell missed his hit. When he looked up the rod tip was down. As he ran to the rail in the confusion of crossed lines and cursing fishermen his fish surged out of the water.
As Maxwell remembers, “My tiger rolled again about 200 yards from the pier. It sounded like nothing I’d ever heard.” A buddy later reported it looked and sounded like “someone had dumped two bathtubs into the ocean at once.”
Maxwell’s shark headed down the beach toward Florida. With over one half a mile of line out, Maxwell finally stopped the fish. Line built on the reel, then smoked off.
The problem was leverage; Maxwell needed to get down on the beach. After four hours and a half, the big shark rolled under the pier.
One hook was bitten off; the other barely held at the corner of the shark’s mouth just off it’s gnashing teeth.
The wire leader came into reach, but even Andre the Giant couldn’t wire a shark from a 20 foot high pier. So Maxwell managed to place his gaff in the shark’s mouth.
The gaff handle tore free, but the inch-thick gaff line held. Maxwell jumped down to the soft sand, hauled his catch into the shore break and lassoed the shark’s head and tail.
It took nearly a dozen men on three ropes to strand the huge fish above the surf. The fish lost pounds in the long wait for the wrecker’s truck arrival. It still beat the old record by 350 pounds. Fisheries experts agree that, if weighed when caught, it would have topped a ton.
This man was the lejend who blazed trails for Florida land based shark fisherman.He fished mostly in the palm beach area and in particular the Boynton Inlet area.
Herb Goodman never wrote a book but he was a pioneer in land-based shark fishing from Lake Worth Florida and was featured in many a fishing magazine,local newspapers,and many books.He became famous not only because he was a consistent fisherman that caught big sharks but because he developed new techniques to help the shark fisherman deploy there baits out into deep water.I believe he single handedly did more to put land-based shark fishing in the spotlight than anyone else of his era.He became a celebrity and on any given Sunday could be found at the Boynton Inlet in Palm Beach fighting a shark.Along with men like Walter Maxwell and Frank Mundus he remains to this date as one of the major Icons in the sport of shark fishing.What Herb Goodman did in his 60’s young men of half his age today can’t hardly do because it’s a different world or because they don’t want it bad enough and are not willing to work for it.Herb never wrote a book but given the right circumstances with his expieri
he could of wrote several books that would still today be used as a guide for the shore bound sharker.When I was a teenager in high school I checked out all the books in the library that had shark fishing in them and that’s how i found out about Herb Goodman and then continued searching near and far for information about him;back then there was no internet so when I found out Herb owned a small hardware store in Lake worth me and Rene de Dios went and met the old man .It was an expierience to say the least he was a soft spoken man but willing to discuss his shark fishing adventures with us.His store had a collection of assorted shark fishing items including his Harnell w 12/0 and some big shark jaws that hung on the walls.The day I met him I got his autograph which i cherish to this day.I Wish I could of got to know him better.
A link to more Herb Goodman pics
Capt Frank Mundus
For over 55 years Frank Mundus chartered his boat Cricket II catching some of the largest sharks ever recorded, off Montauk, New York. His vessel often had a multi-season wait list for a chance to catch the giant sharks he’d dubbed “Monster Fish”. His largest monster, a 17-foot Great White Shark weighing 3,427 pounds, in some record books still remains the largest fish ever caught by rod and reel.
Mundus moved to Montauk from New Jersey in 1951 to pursue a career catching groundfish (Striped Bass, Black Seabass, Bluefish etc). However drawn to the adventurous tales of Zane Grey and the like, he also chased tuna and billfish. At that time these species were under heavy fishing pressure and it was not in the best interest of business to charter for the “chance” to catch game fish. As the story goes, Mundus hooked a large shark and realized that they were just as exciting to chase! Beyond tuna and billfish, there were no other fish larger than a thousand pounds to take their place. It had to be shark. He was then tasked with finding a way to popularize the catching of sharks. Sharks were not considered a mainstream consumable product in the United States and therefore not financially viable. The answer had to be wrapped up in the promotion of adventure. Frank would find the biggest sharks he could and hang them at the dock. Hundreds of people would come from all a
round to see
his catches, translating into free advertising. Thus, Monster Fishing was born.
Frank’s colorful reputation made him an instant inspiration for the infamous shark fisherman known as Quint in the film Jaws (1975). Peter Benchley, the book’s author, spent several trips aboard the Cricket. Though he never gave Mundus credit for the character muse, elements of his fishing methods wove their way into the prose and final shooting script. The infamous yellow barrels that took the place of the shark when the “shark wasn’t working” were actually pulled directly by Spielberg from Frank’s book Sportfishing for Sharks. Frank would use these barrels to slow down the largest sharks and keep them at the surface.
In the years before his passing, Frank Mundus came to realize that sharks were disappearing from his fishing grounds, and had a change of heart. He began to advocate for catch & release tournament methods, as well as lend his experience in the early development and deployment of shark tagging technology, as well as improved fishing gear that was safer for the shark. Mundus is considered to be the first to make and deploy circle hooks (a modification of the traditional “J” hook), which will more reliably catch a shark in the corner of the mouth for safer removal.
His iconic boat, Cricket II, after a great deal of back and forth, has finally been restored and rehomed to New Bern, North Carolina. It has been reinstated by a non-profit under historical grants to be used as a rehabilitation fishing charter for US veterans.
Vic Hislop is a bad ass tough as nails former Australian shark hunter a bit similar to Miami’s “Mark the Shark” Quartiano the infamous charter boat captain that to this day brazenly continues to kill sharks. Vic Hislop dedicated most of his life to capturing and killing sharks. A 1987 photograph shows a huge 20-foot-8-inch great white shark caught by Hislop. His activities have long been the subject of controversy.
Vic Hislop was born to a Scandinavian family in Queensland, Australia on July 1st, 1947. His capturing and killing of sharks was motivated by shark attacks on humans, he claimed they were “God’s biggest mistake”, and he believed that killing sharks was “correcting the mistake.” He has captured and killed Great White Sharks, Tiger Sharks, Great Hammerhead Sharks, and other species of sharks. He is responsible for killing some of the largest and oldest great white sharks on record. Hislop only supports the protection of harmless sharks such as whale sharks and sand tiger sharks. Hislop has also claimed that the Australian government covers up shark attacks by calling them drowning incidents. In 2016, Hislop closed his shark show for personal reasons.