Page 1 of 1

Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion too

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 12:47 am
by SurfinHerp
Hey There Everyone,

My last long Forum post covered my life-listing adventures through early June 2013. This post shows what I was up to from mid-June through mid-August while my two boys were out of school…

Summer sunset in San Diego
Image



I didn’t spend a lot of time this summer actually surfing, though I did catch a few waves here and there.


My best catches in the surf this year were leopard sharks.


I landed a few nice ones, including these two…

Image

Image





In late June, James Evans and I got together and explored a SD County mountain range I had never been to before

Image

We had a good time, sighting some lizards, a couple deer, a bobcat, and a pair of snakes.

First was this patch-nosed snake found by James
Image

Then I spotted this small gophersnake on the road
Image



Later that evening, we met up with Fil T. (PNW Herper) and his friends, who just arrived in the SD County desert to work on Fil’s herp tracking book.
We road-cruised for a while and didn’t find much, then James had to head home.
I camped out with the tracking guys, and in the morning we went to a dune area to record tracks.


What do you think made these unusual tracks?
Image
Fil said they were likely made by two snakes – one on top of the other.
Maybe mating? Or a predation battle??


Here’s a desert iguana that Fil tracked down
Image


And Jeremy holding a coachwhip – also tracked by Fil
Image




When it got too hot down on the desert floor, we went up to the cooler mountains.


Here’s the view from the highest point in San Diego County
Image


We didn’t see much wildlife apart from sagebrush lizards on this day
Image



Later on during their time in SD, we went to a cool spot on the coast to collect tracks from a few of my captive herps.

Image

desert rosy
Image


Fil, Ted, and Jeremy on the bluffs with rosy boas
Image


We also took a hike through a nature reserve and found a striped racer, some side-blotched lizards, and a lot of good bird activity.

I didn’t get any photos of the racer, but I got this good one of a colorful male sideblotchie.
Image


The following morning, it was time for the guys to move on to the next destination on their epic road trip through the West.

You can see more of their trip in Fil’s post here: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=16846





In early July, I hooked up with James Evans and we tried for Cope’s leopard lizards and Baja coachwhips in the afternoon.

All we found was an alligator lizard and a gophersnake…
Image

Image


Then later that night we cruised this big, ugly Southern Pacific rattlesnake on a road we hadn’t tried before
Image



The following night, on a quick local road-cruise, I picked up a pretty little striped Cal. kingsnake just before it got crushed by oncoming traffic
Image




Still in early July…



I took my good friend Jasper surf fishing at my favorite spot, hoping we’d catch a leopard shark.

We caught a couple of sharks, but not exactly the size we imagined…

Jas with a baby leopard
Image

Young smoothhound I reeled in
Image



Near the middle of July, I took a long road-cruise to the desert and back, finding a decent number of snakes considering the time of year...

Started out with a juvenile So. Pac. Rattler on the desert edge of the mountains
Image

Then a desert nightsnake on a rocky mountainside
Image

This shovelnose snake was crossing a road down near the desert floor
Image

Saw this young lyre snake climbing a roadcut on the way back up out of the desert Image

Then finished up with a nightsnake (intergrade maybe?) in the mid-elevation grasslands
Image






Later on in July…


I found a pair of young Southern Pacific rattlesnakes coiled in the shade up in the mountains of San Bernardino County
Image

Image


I also helped out with the annual NAFHA educational Herp Talk at the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center in the Angeles National Forest.
Image

Josh and Jim gave a terrific presentation…
Image
…plus I got to meet a few more cool FHF/NAFHA guys including Lucas Basulto, his dad Art, Jim’s nephew Aayvrm, and Fangmaster Jeff.

For more on the Grassy Hollow event, check out Jim’s post here:
http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... ow#p198950

We put together a great collection of herps for the presentation. The most memorable for me was the Basulto family’s desert tortoise
Image
He’s by far the largest specimen I’ve ever seen, and appeared so healthy I guessed he was only about 25 years old. Man was I wrong – he’s approaching 100!




At the end of July, I packed up the Pilot and took the wife and kids on a road trip to Seattle in order to visit my family on my Dad's birthday.

We stopped and camped along the way, making sure to find a little time for fishing and herping too.


Here are some of the more interesting photos taken during our trip……



This 3 foot long great white shark was dying and washed up on Pismo Beach
Image
The rangers wouldn’t let anyone touch it or even get close to it, hence the poor photo.



This pair of gartersnakes was found in the middle of Shasta County along the Sacramento River, at an elevation of about 1,600 ft.
Image

Image
I’m not sure what species they are, but I’m leaning towards Oregon garter (Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus). Anyone recognize them??



Here's an unusual fish Trevor and Brady caught in Oregon
Image
It's a squawfish. I had never heard of them either until I looked it up.


A small long-toed Dunn's salamander (Plethodon dunni) found next to a hidden waterfall
Image
(It was only about 2" in total length, so a bit tough for me to identify.)


King salmon at Ballard Locks in Seattle
Image

Salmon artwork at the Locks
Image


Day trip to Mt. Rainier National Park….

Image


Cascades frog or tailed frog? pretty sure this is a female tailed frog
Image


Cute pika
Image





My brothers and I caught up with Fil T. for an afternoon and did some PNW style stream herping…


Here's a neotenic adult giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus), as found by Fil
Image


Tailed frog (Ascaphus truei) posed on a leaf
Image


Cold mountain stream
Image


Fil and my brothers searching for giant salamanders
Image


For a moment I thought this fish was a Dicamp
Image


Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) found in a streamside clearing
Image


Giant salamander larvae that I found (lifer!)
Image

Image


Tailed frog tadpoles need a strong grip to survive in fast-flowing streams
Image


This metamorph tailed frog had a nice big tail still
Image

(Thanks a lot for showing us around Fil! I had a great time and look forward to doing it again next time I’m up your way.)


After Fil had to head home, my brothers and I drove over to the Eastern slopes of the Cascades and did some road-cruising before crashing out at a friend’s cabin in the mountains.

I was really hoping to find one of Mike Wolverton’s rubber boas, but all we found were a couple of Great Basin gophersnakes…
Image

Image
These were the first gophersnakes my brothers and I have ever seen in WA, so we were pretty stoked.


While flyfishing early the next morning, I couldn’t resist lifting a likely-looking river side rock. That’s how I found this wandering gartersnake (in need of a shed), and notched another lifer
Image


After breakfast, my brothers and I explored around the town where the cabin was and saw a DOR valley garter plus one more gartersnake that took off without a photo. I think we found the good road to cruise for boas next time too. Watch out for us Mike…


One last stop on the way back to my bros’ house didn’t turn up any cool animals, but at least the foxgloves were in bloom
Image



I love it up in Washington in the summer!




Driving back to San Diego….


We stopped for a night in Oregon and did a little more fishing.


Here’s Trevor on Diamond Lake
Image

Trevor and Brady with our quarry: a 6” rainbow trout
Image


We spent the following morning marveling at Crater Lake
Image


Then we jammed the rest of the way home without making any more time for herping.


Here’s one last parting shot from our trip: Mt. Shasta
Image



Mid-August…
Even though August is usually a poor month for herping in Southern California, James Evans and I decided to hit the roads one night and see what might come out after a summer thunderstorm.


Here’s a view of the storm clouds from San Diego looking East at sunset
Image

We met up in the mountains where it was still dry and nothing was coming out. So we kept going further East into the desert.


Before long we found this 4 foot red diamond rattler crossing the road
Image


Then we found a handful of western toads on a popular desert road where I’ve never seen any amphibians
Image


We finished the night with the common glossy/gecko combination…
Image

Image

(Thanks for cruising with me so many times James! I hope to see you in SD again before too long. And maybe someday I’ll come up and visit you in Alaska.)



Well, that’s all for now.
I definitely had a fun-filled summer and I hope you enjoyed my post.
Sometime soon, I’ll create another showing my Fall finds.

Until then, Happy Herping everybody!




Jeff

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 6:57 am
by beemaster
SurfinHerp wrote:Here’s one last parting shot from our trip: Mt. Shasta
Image
I'm not a sucker for mountains, but that scenery is just gorgeous.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 8:11 am
by hellihooks
Very cool post, Jeff
I'm very envious of the Long-toed sally... been trying for years for one... :thumb: BTW...Aarym's not my nephew... just a local kid I'm trying to mentor... ;) jim

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 8:12 am
by monklet
Great post Jeff! :thumb: Thanks for putting it together :D

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 10:58 am
by Fieldnotes
Incredible post Jeff! That Leopard Shark is huge -- largest that i've seen caught along the coast. That’s my favorite type of surf fishing -- for Sharks! As you thought, the Garters are likely Oregon Aquatics, the river habitat also appears ideal for them. The salamander found at the waterfall is Plethodon dunni. Great adventure and the fact that your kids are able to join makes it even better. Can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store...

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 11:13 am
by Zach_Lim
Amazing post, Jeff.

All the pictures are amazing- looks like a great time had by all.

I really gotta get back down there.

Oh, by the way, I would lean towards Oregon gartersnake, as well.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 12:15 pm
by jamezevanz
Great memories and amazing finds! I'm jealous of your tailed frogs and giant sallies, I was stationed up there for 3 years and never saw either. Of course I had no idea where to look at the time. Looking forward to herping with you again some day and forever grateful for your shark fishing advice. I look forward to seeing what you find this spring while I'm stressing about school and snow shoveling the driveway.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 1:21 pm
by AndrewZ
Awesome stuff man. Looks like you had a successful and enjoyable summer. Those WA gophers are neat looking. :thumb:

If you don't mind me asking, what rig and bait did you use to catch those leopard sharks and how do you fish it? Like do you just cast it past the surf and let it sit or do you reel in enough to keep it off the bottom? I only fish the surf here and there but when I do I just use sandcrabs or plastic grubs. Never caught anything besides perch and baby halibut though.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 2:59 pm
by Blacktail31
Looks like you had an awesome time! Oddly enough I think I liked those big leopard sharks the best. All in all great post! Thanks for sharing!

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 8:49 pm
by PNWHerper
Jeff,

This is an awesome review of your summer vacation. I had a blast being out with you in your neck of the States in CA and also showing you around in the cascades in WA state. Would love to meet up again and do some herping some time soon. Hopefully, time and funds will make it possible sometime in the coming year.

That leopard shark is a beautiful beast! :shock:

Ted and JBob send their regards and gratitude to your for your generosity. It was great to spend time with you and with your awesome family. Warm regards to your boys and your wife, they are great people.

I wonder what the stories was with the great white shark? Sad sight to see such a young one dying on the beach... :cry:
Image
This guy actually looks like it might be a plethodontid salamander, likely a little western red-backed (P. vehiculum) or more likely Dunn's (P. dunni) as Will suggested. Will, what makes you lean toward's the Dunn's?

I like your Pika shot, too. They are fun critters to try and photograph.

Fun to see your shots of those larval Coast giant sallies. And that tailed frog tadpole has such an awesome grip! That was a great day in the field looking for giants.

Love how the two gopher snakes you found in eastern WA look so different from each other! I know a lot of Pit' snobs think our Great Basin gophers here in WA state are ugly, but I love them. They have such a diverse variation in markings from one individual to another. Contrasting them with GB gophers from So Cal is like night and day. Its hard to believe they are the same species.

Nice find of the life Wander Garter too. They are another under appreciated NW snake species.

Great post all around, enjoy looking at it over and over.

Let me know when you up in the green, green state of WA again. I'd love to try some more areas for cool herps.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 16th, 2013, 10:34 am
by SurfinHerp
Thanks for the replies everyone! I really appreciate the herp ID's, and have corrected my mistake.

Right about the time herping season slows way down around here, surf fishing action really picks up - which is nice. It's a great alternative to herping when you're itching to get out of the house. On any cast you might hook into one of about 10 different species of fish.
Most of the leopard sharks I've landed were 4-4.5 feet long and from 25-40 lbs., but I've seen larger ones while snorkeling, and couldn't land one that was about 6 feet long a few years ago. In July I sometimes catch a newborn while fishing for bait.

For anybody that's interested in giving it a try, I'd be glad to take you leopard shark fishing with me. All you'll need is a ride to SD, some swim trunks, and a windbreaker. I'll take care of the rest. Send me a PM and I'll share more info about it.


Fil - regarding the dying white shark: my guess is that it was attacked by dolphins. There was a massive feeding frenzy going on just beyond the waves all morning, with thousands of seabirds diving repeatedly, and numerous dolphins around. Maybe the little shark irritated some of the dolphins while trying to get in on the action and got attacked? I didn't see any boats out there, so I doubt a fisherman killed it. The cuts visible on its side could have been caused by washing over sharp shells in the shallows, or maybe by whatever attacked it. Who knows...




Jeff

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 16th, 2013, 2:38 pm
by Fieldnotes
PNWHerper wrote:Will, what makes you lean toward's the Dunn's?
Jagged edge dorsal stripe and place of discovery at waterfall. As for that tail stripe, those of juvenile dunni often reach very close to the tip.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 16th, 2013, 4:35 pm
by Jimi
Great post, thanks for the long road-trip.

I think your un-ID'd frog is a tailed. The vertical pupil makes me think that. Females lack the intromittive organ so that's one way to not just think "oh, tailed!". So do metamorphs of course, which are pretty large (you've seen the tads). So you see a lot of adult-phase taileds, with no tail.

I didn't even know white sharks came that small - I thought they were born 4-5' long. That's a very cool sighting; I wonder how fast the juvies grow? Anyway, some museum is going to be very, very happy.

If you ever get a chance, you ought to try shark surf fishing in SC, GA, or Florida. I'm curious how it would compare. You sure see a lot of sharks there, in the surf. I mean it's just ridiculous! And forget about small airplanes - get in one of those, you might never get back in the water. East-coast sharks actually bite people.

I'm headed for a couple weeks at San Elijo in a few days (annual trip). I wonder how SoCal surfers would feel if whiteys (adult ones...) were as much a part of daily life there, as they are for NorCal surfers. "Never quite out-of-mind." Ha ha. I guess they'd just get used to it, and you'd stop seeing those idiotic "no sharks" stickers in SoCal. I suppose those bug you too.

Cheers,
Jimi

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 16th, 2013, 9:01 pm
by SurfinHerp
Jimi,

I agree that with you about the ID on the frog. I'm pretty sure it was a large adult female tailed frog. The size is what made me think maybe a Cascades frog.


Here's another poor photo of that baby white shark

Image
I spotted it struggling in the shallow water as I drove the 3 miles up the beach with the family when we were leaving the park. So, I count it as my lifer road-cruised shark ;)

I'd love to try Gulf Coast shark fishing some day. I have a friend in Corpus Christi who's always sending me photos and stories of the sharks caught in the area. I hope to go there and fish with him and try for bull sharks, and maybe a tiger.

Seems to me there are more and more white shark sightings off the coast of S. Cal. every year. Most of the sightings are of juveniles around 6-8 feet long, but there have been a number of larger ones seen as well. A couple years ago a swimmer was bitten and died in Solana Beach. Earlier this year a fisherman caught a 9.5 footer off the beach in Camp Pendleton http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/dec/11/vi ... pendleton/
I don't like the idea of big sharks out where I like to surf and snorkel. I'm an advocate of the No Sharks stickers actually (my buddies got me one for my car a long time ago). If I could, I'd go out right off my favorite beach and catch as many big sharks as possible.

What do you like to do while at San Elijo - surfing? fishing? lobstering? or just relaxing?

The surf was fun today, and I only saw dolphins - no sharks!

Jeff

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 18th, 2013, 10:24 am
by Jimi
Toothy little bugger, huh? Cool pic. Only a little disturbing.

Driving over bridges in the coastal south, you WILL road-cruise sharks. And dolphins, and maybe manatees, sea turtles, gators...pretty cool. So if you get out to see your bud in Texas - keep your eyes peeled!

Yeah, I've been casually tracking the white shark sightings in SoCal. Juveniles have been in the news a long time - I lived there in the 80's and recall many 5-footers being gillnetted (bycatch, not targeted). I also heard about the 2008 Solana Beach fatality (and 2003 Avila, 2004 Ft Bragg, 2010 Surf, ...).

After learning to surf in SD county, and surf-tripping around from Santa Barbara through much of Baja for about 6 years, I moved north, lived and surfed Humboldt, Mendo, Sonoma counties (and Oregon too) for a dozen years. Other than just a few popular (convenient, consistent, mellow, or world-class) spots up there, when you go out there's usually nobody or maybe one guy already out (and you know him, and you hope he just got there & isn't leaving). When you're in the water, chilling (ha ha) between sets, you look towards the pull-out or overlook or check-it spot and honestly hope maybe someone shows up. And if you are truly into the sport, the full experience of it all, you simply must surf alone a whole lot, because it's not a big crew, locally, and they've got jobs too, and families, and maybe they're in the water at the next creek or cove up the coast. And you don't get many visitors from elsewhere. So you're all alone, except for the views and the weather and the ocean. And your fellow life forms. If you can't hack it, you won't be a surfer there.

So you just get used to the idea of big, big, oh my god big sharks - "an Econoline with a mouth" - swimming around with you. You have to. It's psychologically healthy, I think, actually. Once you get past the oh-shit factor, you find a peaceful place, where you can appreciate their, and your, place in the world. Your ephemeral place in the world. You collect shark stories first, second, and third-hand, and come to see those animals as interesting - and frankly, mostly harmless - individuals who make an appearance now and then. "Charlie", for example, was (maybe still is?) a 17-footer who seemed to like showing herself off to the fishermen and surfers at Shelter Cove, nearly every July in the late 90's, wallowing on the surface, cruising so very slowly among the flimsy little pleasure boats full of gawking humans. "Look-a-me boys I'm f*ckin HUGE!"

Honestly, once you rack up enough anecdotes you form an impression of a real range of temperaments in these animals, from sort of goofy and curious, to, well, distinctly more serious...to be shown all due respect. (A friend of mine tells a story of one that came straight up on his surfaced ab diver buddy, "checked him for size" - with her mouth open around his waist, his legs in her gullet - then slid back down without chomping. The same friend, Dave Wright, tells of one that messed with him by cruising up and down between him and shore, but which graciously let him paddle past it, to the beach. "Meh, that ain't food. Sheee-it.") Anyway, I wouldn't dream of harming one, and if battleship grey is the color of bus that gets me one day, hey, woo-hoo I won the death lottery. Boom, goodbye. Didn't hurt a bit, and I was doing what I love. Beats hell out of heart disease or cancer, right? Bedsores, bed pans, tubes and catheters and all that. No thanks, I'd like to be severed, please.

Anyway, San Elijo is about surf and family and down-time for me. I used to free-dive (abalone) in NorCal but don't do it where you're at (no real reason, except an already-overloaded truck). And curiously enough, I stopped fishing a long time ago - between contaminants on the one hand, and sympathy for the animals on the other, my heart's just not in it. I just like to watch them. But I also wouldn't dream of suggesting others shouldn't fish, for fun or food. We all have to live our lives, mostly as we see fit.

Cheers,
Jimi

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 18th, 2013, 12:07 pm
by TravisK
Nice post I really enjoyed it. That white shark is something else. I would have been very temped to nab it and take it to a taxidermist.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 19th, 2013, 5:38 am
by azatrox
Are the sharks captured released? Used for food?

Thanks.

-Kris

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 19th, 2013, 7:56 am
by PNWHerper
Forgot to respond to this...

Image

Yes, tailed frog. Its the only frog we have with a vertical pupils other than spadefoots. The "droopy puppy dog" face is different from the Rana species, as well.


Interesting conversation about shark fishing. So, Jeff are you trying to reduce shark numbers by fishing for them? I am not familiar with the "No Shark" sticker. What is that all about?

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 19th, 2013, 9:46 am
by SurfinHerp
Regarding my shark fishing:

- leopard sharks are very common and harmless to people

- I sometimes keep one leopard shark per year for eating; all others are released after a few photos

- they taste pretty good (the best cuts are similar to sea bass); minimum size is 3 feet; I haven't kept one for a number of years though

- while fishing for bait I sometimes catch baby sharks; the kids love to put them in a bucket for a while and show them off to other kids on the beach; I make sure the babies are released before they start to die

- I dream about shark fishing from a boat offshore from where I like to surf, but I don't have a boat. If I did, I'd probably try for mako sharks, which are common and fun to catch from what I've heard. Plus they taste pretty good. It's illegal to target white sharks.

- the No Shark stickers we're talking about show a white shark inside a red circle with a line through the shark. I don't see what's wrong with that. What surfer really wants to worry about white sharks while in the water? It would be ideal if white sharks just hung around remote islands and beaches where people rarely get in the water. Of course, that's never going to be the case...


Jeff

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013

Posted: December 19th, 2013, 10:29 am
by PNWHerper

Post subject: Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 Reply with quote
Regarding my shark fishing:

- leopard sharks are very common and harmless to people

- I sometimes keep one leopard shark per year for eating; all others are released after a few photos

- they taste pretty good (the best cuts are similar to sea bass); minimum size is 3 feet; I haven't kept one for a number of years though

- while fishing for bait I sometimes catch baby sharks; the kids love to put them in a bucket for a while and show them off to other kids on the beach; I make sure the babies are released before they start to die

- I dream about shark fishing from a boat offshore from where I like to surf, but I don't have a boat. If I did, I'd probably try for mako sharks, which are common and fun to catch from what I've heard. Plus they taste pretty good. It's illegal to target white sharks.
Good to know. I am not too familiar with shark fishing, as I have only fished for small (mostly pan-sized) fish. Its now been a few years since I have fished at all, with my busy schedule its hard to get out to the good spots.

Thanks for clarifying. It makes me curious to further understand this...
- the No Shark stickers we're talking about show a white shark inside a red circle with a line through the shark. I don't see what's wrong with that. What surfer really wants to worry about white sharks while in the water? It would be ideal if white sharks just hung around remote islands and beaches where people rarely get in the water. Of course, that's never going to be the case...
I am not judging your need to feel safe in the water. I am not a surfer, so I don't really speak from experience on hanging with great whites. The implication of the sticker is that someone has to do something to make the concept of "no sharks" into a reality. That is why I asked about reducing sharks via fishing.

I have lived more than half my life now spending time with and in places with wild large carnivores. Mostly cougars and black bears, but now more and more I spend time around wolves also. I include wolves in here in part because of the attitudes around them, not because I feel they are a threat to me when I am in the field. I feel safer surrounded by a pack of wolves, than I do walking down a dark street in Seattle. Wolves are really not a threat to people, despite the hype. Cougars and bears can be occasionally, and I have run into both various times while out on my own in the woods...

Image

Like Jimi, I have come to a sense of peace with the idea of a big predator killing me for food. That is not to say I would die passively, I mean I would fight like hell for my life. But, even though I don't really worry about being attacked by the large carnivores I study, they do force me to make up my mind in a "what if" scenario. Just like when I am hanging out with rattlesnakes, the knowledge that they can kill me forces me to make up my mind about my relationship to them and my relationship to death.
I love rattlesnakes, just as much as I do the large mammalian carnivores that roam the woods up here. They make the landscape more alive, more exciting, more vital...

Around here, especially east of the Cascades, I see "No Wolves" stickers on peoples cars. Wolf face with a red circle and a line through it. That generally means that those people are against wolves being in the area (which might include the area of the entire state or the entire USA!), and if given an opportunity that same person might shot a wolf to get rid of it. Or even the entire pack. Those same people sometimes also express that there is no room for large predators in these parts anymore, after all there are lots of people and livestock around. And their grandparents worked hard to get rid of them in the first place.

Large and potentially dangerous predators (including venomous snakes) are fascinating in and of themselves, but also in what they cause in the human mind and heart. They remind us of our own mortality. The ask us to consider a world were we are not the most important creatures around nor the most powerful. And sharing power is something that, culturally, we are not willing to do. But, individually we can learn to do. Power over life and death...

I hope what I said here does not sound like a judgement. It just stirs interesting thoughts, feelings and want to discuss in me. Its easy for me to root for Great White Sharks when I don't swim with them.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 19th, 2013, 1:09 pm
by VanAR
Reading someone complain about shark attacks while surfing reminds me of hearing people complain about rattlesnakes in their backyard after they decided to move into the desert/prairie.

The sharks are doing their thing. You are entering their habitat to do a recreational activity. You are far more likely to die or be seriously injured on the drive to the beach or through riding a wave poorly than you are as a result of shark attack. If they worry you that much, find another hobby. The fact is, "no sharks" is far more likely than you seem to think, as over 100 million are killed each year, most species are late-maturing and slow-reproducing, and the combination of such heavy harvests and slow population growth is not sustainable in the long-term.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 19th, 2013, 1:43 pm
by TravisK
Swimming with a large white shark is on my bucket list. Only because that is my one phobia. The ocean would also be a lot more boring place without them in it.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 20th, 2013, 8:58 am
by hellihooks
I used to swim out to rabbit island (windward side of kailua, Oahu) to body surf... till a local got his legs bitten off by a Tiger shark (he died):shock: I stuck to shore breaks (like Sandy Beach) after that... no more venturing 'way out'... :roll: jim

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 20th, 2013, 9:18 am
by azatrox
Good on ya for releasing most of what you catch...there certainly aren't too many sharks in the world's oceans these days....

As far as running into a big 'un while surfing....well...that's just a recreational hazard. Nature of the beast. Similar to the risk of snakebite while herping in desolate wilderness, if one can't accept the risk, then they're better off sittin' at home on the couch.

- Kris

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 20th, 2013, 10:58 am
by SurfinHerp
Accept the risk? sure

Like the thought of big sharks in the water? No way

Accepting the risk doesn't mean I have to like that it's risky to surf. And I'm not saying that I'd like all big sharks in So. Cal. to be killed. I just wish they'd stay clear of my favorite beaches (which they pretty much do). I guess I'm not at peace with the idea of getting eaten. Call me crazy :P

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 20th, 2013, 12:26 pm
by azatrox
I guess I'm not at peace with the idea of getting eaten. Call me crazy

Well, you PROBABLY wouldn't be EATEN....Bitten? Sure...Bumped? Ok...But eaten? Very few shark "attacks" are driven by hunger. (I put the word attacks in quotes simply because they're not attacks in the traditional sense....most are investigative in nature.) If a 14 ft GW was intent on making someone a meal, that person would have little chance of survival in the water. GWs are actually pretty cautious animals when it comes to what they bite and what they don't. They're very wary of unfamiliar shapes. Of course, viewed from the bottom a surfer on a board DOES look a lot like a seal, but even then often the shark isn't completely convinced, as evidenced by few attacks that result in significant tissue loss (blood loss yes, but often not tissue loss). Most often, the shark "mouths" a leg or board as a way of checking out whether what they've found feels and tastes like prey. Usually, the shark decides not and moves on. Of course, being "mouthed" by a huge mouth studded with row after row of razor sharp serrated teeth must be a decidedly unpleasant experience, so your trepidation towards experiencing such a scenario is duly noted and appreciated. ;)

-Kris

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 20th, 2013, 5:42 pm
by Kent VanSooy
I snapped this shot off Guadalupe Island on a fishing trip....the pangeros didn't seem overly concerned.

Image

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 20th, 2013, 8:44 pm
by ramblon
That's an awesome shot Kent!

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 21st, 2013, 6:20 am
by hellihooks
When I was 17, I walked into the surf at Corona Del Mar, went to drive under the first big wave, and cut my big toe 3/4 the way off on a broken bottle... took like 40 stitches to sew it back on. (so much for Mt Sac/CIF finals in high jump that year :( ) Been almost taken out by rip tides several times, both in So Cal and HA (Molokai Express), and have had to save several people from drowning at both beaches and at the Colorado river.
Slipped and fell in a remote creek (herping alone :roll: ) in the Mts, (took me 1 1/2 hrs to CRAWL 200 yrds back to my car, and couldn't stand up for days) and have had some very close calls climbing rocks/cliffs... :?
My point is... when out in 'Nature', you have to be careful ALL the time... the little stupid stuff can kill you just as much (and more likely to) than the off chance of a shark attack. You're better served 'sweating the small stuff' than worrying about remote possibilities of catastrophes... :roll: :D jim

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 21st, 2013, 11:39 pm
by PNWHerper
Kent,

Awesome photo! That one is probably 13-15 foot range? Maybe bigger? Awesome beast. :shock:

Hellihooks,

I appreciate what you said here. As a wilderness survival instructor, I have to encourage my students to watch out for the small kinds of injuries that can become debilitating in the field. Twisted ankle, catching giardia, not bringing enough layers with you in a cold climate or protective layers in a hot one. That kind of stuff is what does most people in when in the back country. I am afraid that just doesn't sell as well though... You don't hear about how people die from dehydration or exposure on the mainstream media, but if 1 fatal bear attack happens in 50 years there will be a program on it and it will likely be re-run for years and years.

Of course, everyone wants to talk about bears, cougars and things that go bump in the night. But, those are not likely to be what gets you. Its usually a lack of knowledge. Being ignorant can actually kill you in the woods. :lol:

Kris,

I appreciate your description of Great White behavior. This is what I have read also. There is also a cool documentary called INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS that talks about Great White anatomy and bite strength. Apparently their bite may not be that much stronger than a humans. Also, their teeth are only loosely attached.

Worth watching the whole series, come to think of it. They dissect all sorts of critters, I think there is even one on Burmese pythons.

Re: Surf and Herp Summer Vacation 2013 - shark discussion to

Posted: December 22nd, 2013, 10:04 am
by Jeff Lemm
Great post Jeff and the little white shark is way cool. I happen to love sharks, surfing and fishing and I go out of my way to not catch sharks. I have surfed and dove all over the world and have never had any major issues with sharks. I love diving with the leopards in the summer and my son got his first taste this year - he's hooked. We need all the sharks we can get, be nice to them, lol