Dr. Samuel “Doc” Gruber, shark researcher extraordinaire who is funded in part by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, recently spent part of his day in the water with a 12 ft. female tiger shark. While many people might think he’s crazy, it was actually just another day at the office for Doc, who has been studying sharks for more than 30 years. After his encounter with the tiger shark, Doc sat down at his computer and filed the following field report, which includes some pretty amazing photos of Doc and his new friend:
“We were teaching a university shark biology course at the Bimini Biological Field Station. We set our line at 09:00 and hauled back at 15:30. The line was set in ~700′ – well into the Gulf Stream and with a strong 2 kt current. The weather was especially fine. The line itself is about 1,500 feet long but we only set the seven hooks on last 350′, which is weighed down with a 15 lb lead weight so the hooks stay on the bottom. The entire line was anchored by a concrete block, chain and anchor, which was zip-tied to the chain.
As we hauled the line back in, we found the second gangion/hook broken and gone and no bait on any of the other hooks. The tiger shark actually took the very first gangion, broke it and came back for a second before getting wrapped up in the main line. With the class looking on we hauled up the 1,500 feet of line and gear and discovered the big tiger tangled in the end of the line. We carefully untangled her and trussed her to the side of the boat.
Once the tiger was secure, we measured her, fitted her with a tracking tag and took a genetic sample. Then, we released her safe and sound back to the deep – but not before I got into the water with her for a few parting shots.
Being up close and personal with a behemoth like this female tiger is an incredible experience. The pure power and density of the shark is just amazing – feels like a giant oak!!
Many thanks to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation for supporting the shark research at the Bimini Biological Field Station – we couldn’t do this important work without your generosity!
Check out the video below of Doc and his team releasing another 12 ft. tiger shark off Bimini:
Great job, Doc…and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation hat looks great on you!