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pdabill

Newbie wanting to film sharks

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Hi, I am new to freediving and just started getting into making underwater videos this year. I am interested in trying to get close-up footage of some sharks but want to make sure I do it safely. There are two scenarios that I would like to get opinions on from experienced shark videographers.

 

I spend a lot of time offshore fishing in florida. We catch sharks from time to time and I have been thinking about getting in the water to film when we have one on the line. Is this safe? While I have finally convinced myself that it is mostly safe to be in the water with sharks, I am not sure if their behavior becomes risky/unpredictable when they are hooked up? If I get too close is there a risk in getting in trouble? Or if the line breaks and I am close? I just tried this technique for the first time with a sailfish a couple days ago and got some pretty neat footage:

 

 

I am interested in getting similar footage with a shark.

 

The other thing we frequently do is to hang a dead fish on the back of the boat to attract other fish. Inevitably we get sharks from time to time, mostly hammerheads. Would you get in the water next to a hammerhead that was in "eating mode" and chomping on a dead fish? Would that be safe? Here is a video of exactly what I am talking about:

 

 

I don't have much experience swimming with sharks or knowledge of their behavior and just want to know if you have any recommendations/advice/things not to do for me?

 

Thanks!

Edited by Drew

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Hi, I am new to freediving and just started getting into making underwater videos this year. I am interested in trying to get close-up footage of some sharks but want to make sure I do it safely. There are two scenarios that I would like to get opinions on from experienced shark videographers.

 

I spend a lot of time offshore fishing in florida. We catch sharks from time to time and I have been thinking about getting in the water to film when we have one on the line. Is this safe? While I have finally convinced myself that it is mostly safe to be in the water with sharks, I am not sure if their behavior becomes risky/unpredictable when they are hooked up? If I get too close is there a risk in getting in trouble? Or if the line breaks and I am close? I just tried this technique for the first time with a sailfish a couple days ago and got some pretty neat footage:

 

http://www.vimeo.com/6461861

 

I am interested in getting similar footage with a shark.

 

The other thing we frequently do is to hang a dead fish on the back of the boat to attract other fish. Inevitably we get sharks from time to time, mostly hammerheads. Would you get in the water next to a hammerhead that was in "eating mode" and chomping on a dead fish? Would that be safe? Here is a video of exactly what I am talking about:

 

http://www.vimeo.com/4188935

 

I don't have much experience swimming with sharks or knowledge of their behavior and just want to know if you have any recommendations/advice/things not to do for me?

 

Thanks!

 

As a kid, in the Bahamas, I wanted to photograph sharks. I had a Kodak X-15 and an Ikie housing, that flooded 3 times, but the camera kept working. I used to spear fish, cut them up and toss them out when I was snorkeling. All went well til my Dad had the film developed. Grounded, literally.

 

I also used to stand-up fish off of Hatteras in the Gulf Stream. Many hammers, pilot whales, humpies, mahi, bill fish. I too wanted to slip in the water to photograph (Nikonos IV &V days). But I did not trust my buddy to keep an eye on me "over" the fish. If you trust the captain that is a different story.

 

BUT, the truth is ... fish are unpredictable! Period! Especially, if they are stressed like being on the other end of a line. If a bill fish makes a run, you could get speared, you won't be the first.

 

There's a video somewhere of 3(?) divers following a tiger and the one videoing and the farthest away gets bit.

 

Safe? Prolly not. But still a cool idea. You could prolly hook up a pole came and achieve similar results. By doing this you can get a better idea of species reactions and where you'd want to be to get better images.

 

Cool video you shot. Good luck!

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I don't have much experience swimming with sharks or knowledge of their behavior and just want to know if you have any recommendations/advice/things not to do for me?

 

Hi Paul,

I'd have to say that freediving and getting close up shark images don't go together. When it comes to those gorgeous animals sharks, in my brain I always relate snorklers with a four letter word, bait. Since you're in Florida, I'd highly recommend you do spend some time with Jim Abernethy and his crew in West Palm. If your serious about wanting to learn about filming sharks, that would be a great place to start.

 

Steve

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Not from florida, but recently spent a few weeks there. I thought I read while there that baiting sharks for any other reason than killing them is illegal. Do I have that wrong? I personally wish it wasn't legal to kill them but fishing seems to be more powerful in politics than scuba.

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I'd say if your catching sharks and want to film them a pole cam would be a good idea...I would image that is what the guys use on those wild fishing shows.

I also ditto Steve's remark...hook up with Jim Abernethy and take a trip with him to the Bahamas where it is legal to bait the sharks....a great trip to learn about shark behavior, the do's and the dont's, etc.

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Guys,

 

Thank you very much for the responses. Would love to hear other ideas/opinions if anyone else has something to share.

 

A couple months ago I did research the legality of "shark feeding" and it is my interpretation that it is ok for recreational fishermen, however not for charter boats. I found some documentation that states:

 

"A state wildlife commission moved Thursday to ban the feeding of sharks and other marine life on excursions catering to scuba divers and snorkelers amid concerns the practice could endanger humans."

 

http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/06/shark...ding/index.html

 

I have been using my camera mounted to a pole and it has worked pretty well. Just been wanting to take it to the next level!! But perhaps I will just continue using it :) Here are some still shots from a video I took (using pole cam) of a silky shark we caught in the florida keys this summer:

 

ss3j.jpg

ss2j.jpg

ss1j.jpg

 

-Paul

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Guys,

 

Thank you very much for the responses. Would love to hear other ideas/opinions if anyone else has something to share.

 

A couple months ago I did research the legality of "shark feeding" and it is my interpretation that it is ok for recreational fishermen, however not for charter boats. I found some documentation that states:

 

"A state wildlife commission moved Thursday to ban the feeding of sharks and other marine life on excursions catering to scuba divers and snorkelers amid concerns the practice could endanger humans."

 

http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/06/shark...ding/index.html

 

I have been using my camera mounted to a pole and it has worked pretty well. Just been wanting to take it to the next level!! But perhaps I will just continue using it :) Here are some still shots from a video I took (using pole cam) of a silky shark we caught in the florida keys this summer:

 

ss3j.jpg

ss2j.jpg

ss1j.jpg

 

-Paul

 

Wow the pictures came out great. Damn, I never tried taking photos of sharks...

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It is hard to know if you are joking or not, and i kinda have to hope that you are. It is clear you know very little about sharks, especially the frenzies they get into when feeding. It is also very sadly clear that you know even less about the state of sharks and sharking and sorry if i sound a bit off but it is just shark fishing really really.... really gets under my skin but that isn't your fault so will try to think happy thoughts...  :D

 

Filming sharks can be one of the most amazing and rewarding things but if you wanna be able to film them here is a tip... STOP CATCHING THEM!!!!!!!  Put aside the massively dwindling shark populations, as another poster said, if you really want to film them properly you will need to swap the freediving for a tank and also go with someone who knows a lot about them, for both your safety and theirs. To give a low down on the various sharks and the behaviours etc.etc.. would take a very very long post but there are lots of great resources around for finding out about them.

 

A great documentary about sharks and shark finning and just how much of it really goes on is one called Shark Water, here is a link to the site http://www.sharkwater.com/. Filmed by Rob Stewart

 

I hope you have lots of luck getting some great shots, just at least make sure your release them back after! (well, just tell me you do anyway!  :fishblue: )

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I woud NOT recommend it.

 

I have experience freediving with baited tiger and dusky sharks. I will not get into the details except to say that the folks i go with have significant experience, starting out with a cage and progressing slowly to free swimming. We use a number of safety precautions to minimize risk, including never going in solo.

 

Oceanic sharks, like silky's, are the most dangerous types as they are very opportunistic predators more willing to investigate unconventional sources of food. This is due to the desert-like nature of the open ocean and the relative scarcity of food. Some sharks are more aggressive than others (of the same species) and this mood must be judged before entering the water without a cage. Please don't do it, especially not with a hooked shark in a desperate panic mode.

 

i'd also like to reiterate what wbk said above that fishing for sharks is incredibly inappropriate these days as numbers are plummeting from overfishing. There are estimates that up to 100 million sharks are being slaughtered each year, with many species at risk of becoming endangered. Please watch Sharkwater. And stick to the polecam. Cheers,

 

Chris

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Not from florida, but recently spent a few weeks there. I thought I read while there that baiting sharks for any other reason than killing them is illegal. Do I have that wrong? I personally wish it wasn't legal to kill them but fishing seems to be more powerful in politics than scuba.

 

I heard it is legal to bait if you are fishing but illegal to bait a shark to look at.

So if you want to bait a shark for just looking you have to throw a fishing line in.

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Hmm my objections to hooking a shark aside, I would suggest you stay out of the water. I've seen sharks go to bite mode on the closest thing it can see when they get hooked. And that was accidental too.

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Hi,

I don't freedive with sharks but been diving a lot with them mainly in the Bahamas. On one of our trip, one freediver joined us and we were quite worried. From the bottom, in his black wetsuit, he looked like a big sea lion or seal. He spend the whole week freediving with lemons, tigers and great hammerhead and was never threaten. I got to know him better, his name is Wolfgang Leander. He's a shark nut. He has been freediving with all kinds of sharks and knows them well. He goes all around the world to freedive with sharks and especially the tigers. If you want to try the same I would suggest to get in touch with him. He his a real gentleman, a great freediver and a sharklover like you won't beleive. Here a link to his blog.

http://fleander.blogspot.com/

 

Pierre

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