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Catching White Sharks in South Carolina

Old 10-14-2020, 03:48 PM
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Default Catching White Sharks in South Carolina

Been catching and tagging white shark for the last 5-6 years on rod and reel and a film crew wanted to do a documentary. He finished it a couple of weeks ago and gave me a copy, thought you guys may enjoy.



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Old 10-14-2020, 04:21 PM
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Like the story about how you named the shark Charlie.

Went to my Grandfathers grave for the first time yesterday after we buried him last November and found four deer surrounding his headstone. The largest doe kept stomping and moving closer to me within say 40 foot as though she was guarding his final resting spot. This went on for what seemed to be at least five minutes. Thought about recording for the family, but, decided that it would be best to just experience naturally.
Old 10-14-2020, 05:45 PM
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Nice, enjoyed it..
Old 10-15-2020, 03:09 AM
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The fear of failure prevents more success than failure itself.

Nice video, thank you.
Old 10-15-2020, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Lone Ono View Post
The fear of failure prevents more success than failure itself.

Nice video, thank you.
Thanks!
You're right. And the appreciation of the catch is elevated due to all the failures year after year.
Old 10-15-2020, 01:44 PM
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nice video - saw you on the news a few times thanks for posting
Old 10-15-2020, 08:04 PM
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You should be proud of that video. It is well done. I figured you to be a steward for Gods creatures and have respect for the ability to be a part of it. I've watched your progress thru the news articles and believe you had a response on Charleston Fishing.com on what you thought the Great Whites were feeding on. I recall you stated that a necropsy showed big bull red scales in the stomach.
I 've fished out of Savannah for 30+ years. I've never seen a Great White. Plenty of huge Tigers/Hammerheads, but , no Great Whites.
There has to be a reason for such a congregation of Great Whites in the area you are targeting. Are they breeding??? Feeding??? Following the Whales down and stopping in this area for a specific reason????
I'll be fishing this winter when it gets cooler...but it won't be for Great Whites. Bait action gets concentrated in the winter here. It is such a privilege to go experience the wonder of it all. I'll be keeping a sharp eye for your majestic fish. I'll be looking for what I think they're feeding on.

Thanks for sharing with us...and your work ... tagging a phantom. Frank Mundus and you have very little in common, other than catching Great Whites. You respect the resource.

Old 10-16-2020, 12:41 PM
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Saving for when I get to the house!!
Old 10-16-2020, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mdaddy View Post
You should be proud of that video. It is well done. I figured you to be a steward for Gods creatures and have respect for the ability to be a part of it. I've watched your progress thru the news articles and believe you had a response on Charleston Fishing.com on what you thought the Great Whites were feeding on. I recall you stated that a necropsy showed big bull red scales in the stomach.
I 've fished out of Savannah for 30+ years. I've never seen a Great White. Plenty of huge Tigers/Hammerheads, but , no Great Whites.
There has to be a reason for such a congregation of Great Whites in the area you are targeting. Are they breeding??? Feeding??? Following the Whales down and stopping in this area for a specific reason????
I'll be fishing this winter when it gets cooler...but it won't be for Great Whites. Bait action gets concentrated in the winter here. It is such a privilege to go experience the wonder of it all. I'll be keeping a sharp eye for your majestic fish. I'll be looking for what I think they're feeding on.

Thanks for sharing with us...and your work ... tagging a phantom. Frank Mundus and you have very little in common, other than catching Great Whites. You respect the resource.
Thanks, i appreciate the kind words. Its been quite a process.
I don't think our specific population is anything different than Georgia or Floridas, they're migratory, just like Sailfish or wahoo moving up and down the coast. The closure of harvesting white sharks in the 90's and the protection of seals has really helped them. I don't think they'd ever leave Capt Cod if they had a say. Fortunately, that water gets too cold and the seals aren't moving with them so other resources are used. You're right about the redfish, but only for the smaller ones. The juveniles are eating reds, dogfish, sleeping birds or any wounded fish. When they get bigger and become adults the diet completely changes and they switch from fish to full mammals. Bottlenose and spotted dolphin, turtles, and wounded right whales. We had a 14 footer barf up bottlenose dolphin about 3 years ago, quite the smell.
As for breeding.. theyre dropping their pups up near NY. In all the winters we've fished, ive never seen or caught a true yearling. A 7 footer is about the smallest ive seen, and they're approx. 4.5 to 5 foot when born. I don't think those pups venture south of NC often, but i think youre on to something about the whale migration. They seem to time that out about perfect. Maybe a primeval instinct. If i had to guess id say NC has the highest population on the east coast. Little surprised nobody has figured it out up there yet.
Thanks for the words in comparison with Mundus, very nice of you. Wish i was able to meet him....ive read all his books and he was a man before his time. He did kill 19 white sharks, which would be like committing murder these days. But back then killing a white shark would be like shooting a coyote in todays age, youre a hero. But i still would want to preserve the discovery, its beneficial to both parties....the fish and fisherman.
Best of luck this winter, love this time of year. Thanks again -Chip
Old 10-16-2020, 05:41 PM
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Cool video, well done.

Looks like an amazing experience.

So what are the odds each trip of finding the target species- white shark?
Old 10-17-2020, 12:52 AM
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Excellent film, and I admire your perseverance and your upbeat attitude. I've got a couple of questions if you don't mind. First, you use surprisingly light tackle for great whites and are fighting them standing up. Why don't you use 130s instead of 80s? They don't seem to fight very hard given their humongous size if you can bring them to the boat in 1/2 hour or so using such gear. I've caught 450 pound makos on Penn 50s or 80s that have gone bonkers and lasted a couple of hours. Some of your great whites are close to five times the weight. Next, I wonder what's keeping so many great whites in the area given the relatively small concentration of sea mammals in your area. I fish out of Montauk and even though we're a couple of miles from the purported great white nursery, I've actually never seen a great white near Montauk. I nearly ran over a huge one running from P-town to the Canal a number of years ago when my boat fell off a nice swell and I looked down to see the gigantic shark just below my bow. Of course, there are a zillion seals around the Cape, and you couldn't pay me a million bucks to go swimming in those waters nowadays. I find it difficult to believe that the great whites can survive on a diet of porpoises since porpoises are so intelligent and fast that it would be tough for a great white to fool enough of them to survive on porpoise meat. And there just aren't that many dead whales floating around! But the great whites are there. I see them in your neck of the woods on the Ocearch tracking website ( which, by the way, gives us a pretty good idea of where they congregate off of Hilton Head. As for Frank Mundus, although he claimed to have had a conversion to shark conservation at the end of his life, I never really believed it. Nearly 50 years ago, I fished on the Viking Star for Coxes Ledge summer cod out of Montauk. When we returned to the dock that afternoon, the parking lot was mobbed and the crowd had surrounded a 30 foot basking shark that Frank had decided to harpoon and bring back to the dock for the crowd and the press. Even as a 16 year old, I was thoroughly disgusted looking at this magnificent creature baking in the summer sun on an asphalt parking lot so some narcissistic lunatic could hear the roar of the crowd. Frank kept running pricey charters on his decrepit boat until he left for the Big Island and would fly back each summer for some overpriced Jaws specials until he became too old to do it anymore. Frank's daughter, on the other hand, grew up to become a respected professional mariner, who writes occasional articles on navigation and other useful topics in various boating magazines. Finally, I'm curious as to your thoughts on Ocearch. I realize there's no love lost between Chris Fisher and Dr. Greg Skomal. Again, congrats on a great film.
Old 10-17-2020, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Fish'nFool View Post
Cool video, well done.

Looks like an amazing experience.

So what are the odds each trip of finding the target species- white shark?
Thank you sir.
Each season is a little different, a couple of seasons we got one every trip out. Last year, i think we went 13 times and got skunked 3 times...caught 1 or multiple each of the other. I guess around 90-95% normally.
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Old 10-18-2020, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jillybird View Post
Excellent film, and I admire your perseverance and your upbeat attitude. I've got a couple of questions if you don't mind. First, you use surprisingly light tackle for great whites and are fighting them standing up. Why don't you use 130s instead of 80s? They don't seem to fight very hard given their humongous size if you can bring them to the boat in 1/2 hour or so using such gear. I've caught 450 pound makos on Penn 50s or 80s that have gone bonkers and lasted a couple of hours. Some of your great whites are close to five times the weight. Next, I wonder what's keeping so many great whites in the area given the relatively small concentration of sea mammals in your area. I fish out of Montauk and even though we're a couple of miles from the purported great white nursery, I've actually never seen a great white near Montauk. I nearly ran over a huge one running from P-town to the Canal a number of years ago when my boat fell off a nice swell and I looked down to see the gigantic shark just below my bow. Of course, there are a zillion seals around the Cape, and you couldn't pay me a million bucks to go swimming in those waters nowadays. I find it difficult to believe that the great whites can survive on a diet of porpoises since porpoises are so intelligent and fast that it would be tough for a great white to fool enough of them to survive on porpoise meat. And there just aren't that many dead whales floating around! But the great whites are there. I see them in your neck of the woods on the Ocearch tracking website ( which, by the way, gives us a pretty good idea of where they congregate off of Hilton Head. As for Frank Mundus, although he claimed to have had a conversion to shark conservation at the end of his life, I never really believed it. Nearly 50 years ago, I fished on the Viking Star for Coxes Ledge summer cod out of Montauk. When we returned to the dock that afternoon, the parking lot was mobbed and the crowd had surrounded a 30 foot basking shark that Frank had decided to harpoon and bring back to the dock for the crowd and the press. Even as a 16 year old, I was thoroughly disgusted looking at this magnificent creature baking in the summer sun on an asphalt parking lot so some narcissistic lunatic could hear the roar of the crowd. Frank kept running pricey charters on his decrepit boat until he left for the Big Island and would fly back each summer for some overpriced Jaws specials until he became too old to do it anymore. Frank's daughter, on the other hand, grew up to become a respected professional mariner, who writes occasional articles on navigation and other useful topics in various boating magazines. Finally, I'm curious as to your thoughts on Ocearch. I realize there's no love lost between Chris Fisher and Dr. Greg Skomal. Again, congrats on a great film.
Greatly appreciate it, when you don't have kids or a life you can really focus on crazy things.
I'm more than happy to answer anything. Why don't we use bigger reels? The 50w is all we need, the only advantage to a 130 would be line capacity and we're spinning the boat and chasing anything over 10 foot to shorten fight time and keep the shark from spooling. I know the 130w has more drag, but you can turn the preset knob far enough down on a 50 to get what you want. Theres no fighting chair, so keeping the set from getting too heavy helps. The weight on a 130 vs a 50 makes a difference. Sure the 130 has more drag, but i don't need it....we're tightening the drag down as much as it can go without pulling the guy over the side. We put the rod in the rod holder if the sharks pulling consistent one direction but i don't want to crack the gelcoat. White sharks are tough fighters, much tougher than you think. Much more erratic than a tiger or hammer. And just like Quint said, theyre actually very intelligent. Sometimes they come up to the boat and take the bait, sometimes they circle for half an hour and slowly swim away. Definitely a thought process.
What are they feeding on here? You're right, theyre not quick enough for a porpoise...but what they do is find an area where bottlenose dolphin sleep and hunt them there. Not sure if youre aware how they sleep, but they find a safe area and get into a repetitive pattern and slow down their system. We've had half dolphins wash up on the beach around here in the winter. I'm not sure how they catch spotted dolphin, but we've seen plenty of sea turtles wash up through the years bitten in half. A couple of years ago there was a dead manatee floating out there and a pilot found 2 white sharks feeding on it. This is a shark that doesn't need to eat every week, so im not sure how important it is to find food. As your question about whats holding them off Hilton Head, theyre not just here. This is a much more migratory fish. One day its off Hilton Head, two days later its off Jacksonville, then two days later its off Daytona. They're everywhere from NC to FL....just takes some time to figure out water temp, water clarity, time of yr, bait, locations, etc.
I know Frank Mundus isn't real well liked by many, i get it. I was just fascinated with his story. It was just a different time...50 years from now they'll think we're monsters for eating steak. But i like the underdog...a man who everyone else thought was a joke, and he slowly proved them wrong and took over that area.
As for Ocearch, 100% snake oil salesmen. I tagged the first 12 tigers on that shark tracker, and i shouldve known after our first shark when they called and sent emails adamantly telling me not to talk to media, to forward all interested reporters to ocearch's PR person so they could get full credit and get quoted in the paper instead of ourselves. Wait a sec, im tagging all these sharks, on my boat, my crew, for free and i cant even talk to the media to get a little bit of credit? It wouldve helped me out tremendously. I slowly realized this isn't science, they couldn't care less...this is about maximizing media exposure. Then as we discovered how to consistently catch white sharks, they wanted to team up again....but i knew the drill, show them where and how and they take full credit. I also didnt like how they haul the white sharks out of the water. The same scientists sent me emails telling me i shouldnt pull 100 pound blacktips out for a quick pic, but then hop on the ocearch ship to haul a 3,000 pound shark out for 20 mins? GTFOH And what happens if this shark is preg, effects on pups, long term effects on organs? But i tell you, they're brilliant businessmen. Fischer is a genius pr man. The white shark is the only shark that doesn't need help, the population is actually booming....but him preaching about how he's saving the oceans by tagging these white sharks has brought in millions. How about putting that money towards some species that actually need help? Like the hammer, mako, white tip....but those sharks don't make headlines, its a smart business move. Ocearch is PR brilliance is science costumes.
As for Dr Skomal, he's top notch. I teamed up with him years ago...he doesn't care about exposure or ask for locations for his benefit. Never asked me once to mention him in papers. He just wants the tags deployed, data gathered, blood, DNA, whatever it may be. He has a genuine interest and passion into white sharks. Sorry for the long reply, but once i get started yapping about sharks i cant stop. Thanks again for the kind words.
Old 10-18-2020, 10:13 PM
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Great response, Chip. I'm more than impressed that you're able to land these magnificent shark on 50s. You need to put some backing plates under your rod holders. My son's 31 Contender is getting re-glassed while he's fishing in Mag Bay for three weeks as a mate on a sportie and his gunwale tops cracked by his aft rod holders from hanging bottom while swording with his LPs. He's now installing backing plates which should prevent a recurrence. With 2000 lb. plus great whites on your line, I can see how sticking the rod in the holder without backing plates will do the same to your boat. It's also amazing that you can control those shark at the boat enough to remove the hook with the extended hook remover. Hell, when we go sharking -- which I confess I don't really enjoy all that much except for the occasional mako -- we just cut the wire as close to the hook as possible. We're using non-stainless circle hooks so they rust out very quickly. BTW, it looks like you're using J hooks, is that correct? And are you using fish for bait, like a big bloody bonito or blackfin tuna? Or are you using a bloody chunk of some slaughterhouse animal? Do you catch a lot of other species of shark -- like makos, hammerheads, bulls, or tigers while you are chumming for the great whites? Seems like you're fishing the same water temps as the makos and big threshers like. Finally, you obviously have a research permit that allows you to target great whites for tag and release. Am I correct that a normal HMS permit does not allow a holder to specifically target great whites, even for catch and release -- meaning, fortunately, that normal weekend warriors can't go out and do what you're doing? Thanks, and keep it up. Looking forward to seeing your results this winter.
Old 10-19-2020, 11:35 AM
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Thank you sir. Most of the experienced assume they must not fight hard if we're using 50's but its quite impressive. When we get a giant, ill lock up the drag towards the end of the fight and put two guys on the cable and she'll actually pull the boat fast enough that we have a wake. I now know why Mundus harpooned his white sharks right after hooking up, they're near impossible to land (the larger ones).
Yes, we catch a lot of tigers, hammers, bulls, lemons, etc. But those are here in the summer months, i think we've only caught a couple tigers while targeting white sharks. A hammer probably is most similar fight wise. The largest hammer we got this year was my largest ever and it was just like fighting a white....was over a grand and exhausting, erratic, and just when you think you broke her will she swims right under the boat and takes off on the other side.
I can give almost any info publicly, but its illegal to use sport fish for bait in SC so i have to zip it.....but ive never used a mammal or anything crazy. Theres a guy out of Georgia thats been trying to catch whites...i saw him using a dead deer once.
As for legality, yeah im on Dr Skomals permit that allows me to target and handle. After i caught a couple they reached out and asked if i'd be interested in teaming up...how they have minimal data on white sharks in SC. Its been a great thing. Prior to teaming up, i was kind of dodging and weaving as white sharks are some of the most protected fish in the Atlantic. Got stopped by DNR 11 straight times after my first white shark catch. 11 straight f'in times, was ridiculous. Hooks- I haven't found a hook i love for white sharks yet. I've used many. The jaw is so fat that is takes a huge gapped circle, but if you use a huge circle its more difficult to penetrate that jaw. For tigers, hammers, bulls, i use the Gamakatsu 8/0 live bait hook...and ive caught a few white sharks with it, but im not sure if it'll grab enough meat if we tie into anything over 2K lbs. Ive tried a handful of others, lost a lot of fish while trying. The j hook you see was used prior to restrictions and im anti-j hook, but if your hand feeding white sharks and see exactly where the hook is, im safe to use..in my mind. My biggest fear in all this is killing one. I cant imagine the backlash if one washed up dead with my tag on it. So making sure they're not gut hooked is top priority.
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:20 PM
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Chip, thanks for all the info. You’re doing great stuff out there. Very impressive, and you’re developing fantastic scientific information along the way. That’s the way to live your dream! Be safe!
Old 10-19-2020, 10:22 PM
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Thanks again, Wylie. Its been a crazy good time these last few years...got the fishing fever again like i was 16.
Best of luck to you this winter. If i ever make it to Miami ill be sure to look you up. Thanks again!
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:08 PM
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Chip, I'm Capt. Bob, Capt. Wylie's father. While I'm writing this, Capt. Wylie is working hard as a mate for three weeks fishing for striped marlin off of Magdalena Bay, 180 miles north of Cabo. This is the most epic marlin bite in the world at this time of the year. The last trip the other day they fished for only 6 hours and released 50 striped marlin, a blue marlin and a sailfish. Just insane fishing. Fortunately, no shark predation out in the deep where they're fishing. Thanks again for your thoughtful responses.
Old 10-20-2020, 04:19 PM
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I need to break out my 15 year old video of a Great White completely breaching with a 70 pound Wahoo in it's mouth...out of Savannah before folks knew they were around that much.

r
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by brdawg2001 View Post
I need to break out my 15 year old video of a Great White completely breaching with a 70 pound Wahoo in it's mouth...out of Savannah before folks knew they were around that much.

r
I saw a great video on youtube years ago. Not sure thats yours, but saw an awesome breach out in the stream off Savannah but the video i saw it was definitely a mako. Big one tho.
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