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View Full Version : "the Shark Who Pulled My Tinny Down"



Archie GG
17th April 2009, 06:47
The "WANDEROO" is a multi fishing boat; this is one of many stories from my book "WOW!" Tales of a Larrikin Adventurer. I've lived and worked on my boat for close to 20 years, fishing the waters North East of the North Island of
New Zealand. After my fishing career I traveled the world in my Motor-Home.

The Mysterious Shark.

My silent partner, at the time I skippered the “Wanderoo” was Captain Reynolds, a former Master on the oil tankers trading between Dubai and Rotterdam, at the time that he became my silent partner he had the function as Harbour Master in the Bay of Islands New Zealand.

Both of us stuck rigidly to the agreement of silent partner when we bought the Fishing Vessel “Wanderoo”.

Offcourse Archie the fisherman still had to stick to the rules of the harbour and sea. At the same time I was bending the fishing rules to increase my catches and of course our earnings. So I did have a few run-ins with my dear
Captain partner, nothing really serious. He told me a few times, “Archie you annoy the living day lights out of me, but I love the return on my money”

Here is one example of the headaches I sometimes causes. One particular day, my groper (Hapuka Maori name) bait was running out so I contacted by radio my good friend Snooks Fuller, the skipper and owner of the deep-sea game boat, “Lady Doreen” I asked him if there was any change of getting a small stripy (striped Marlin) or any other fish. At the time he did not have any on board but would come back to me later on in the day. I was well away from our home port Paihia and if he was getting any bait I would have to pick it up from his mooring, next to my mooring in front of Paihia beach.

I could always drop a monofilament net over the reef just out from the coast for some travelli fish. It would be illegal, but I’d be sure to get some bait. Just before steaming for the coastal rocks, Snooks called me and told me that he’s got a small shark for me and would hang it from the stern of his boat.
Shark is not the best bait, but beggars can’t be choosers. My plan was, during the night I’d steam in, take the fish off the stern of his boat and head straight out to the fishing grounds again some 50 miles away, in the mean time I was pulling four or so lures through the water to supplement my bait situation. I thanked my old buddy and off I went towards home. As an after-thought, he told me to make sure I took it as he had to go out early next morning with fishing clients.

It was a beautiful night and made good progress. I must have been around midnight when I lined up the leading lights to guide me into Paihia. I moored my boat and took the tinny off the wheel house and rowed over to the “Lady Doreen”. I saw the rope which held the tail of the shark. I tied my own rope to the tail and then to the stern of the tinny. Now, by untying his rope from the “Lady Doreen” I would get the full weight of the fish on the stern of my tinny. WOW……. I’ll have you know, it was just in time that I jumped on the stern of the “Lady Doreen”. If I hadn’t, I would have been in the drink with the dead shark.

My mate, Snooks, pulled a joke on me. He told me that he had a small shark, I had no idea how big the fish was, in fact it was far too big for my poor little tinny. The bow of the little boat shot up in the air and the build-in floatation kept it straight up in the water. If the tide had been fully in, the weight of the shark would have taken my tinny down under water. This was trouble with a capital “T”. What in the heck could I do now? I knew that old Snooks would have been laughing his head off if he could have seen all this.

OK, now, I could bring my boat along side his boat and winch the shark on board, however, the racket it would make would have people running out of their house to see what the commotion was all about. So I got a rope, and tied it onto the tinny, together with the shark, and then back to my boat and took the whole lot to the wharf. I went to get my Landrover, and drove it onto the wharf, transferred the rope to the back of the Landrover and pulled in low gear the lot partly out of the water. I got back in the tinny and started to filled the shark from the tail to the waters edge. Everything went according to plan, I got big lumps of fish in my dinghy and I had just enough bait.

Suddenly, the backbone of the shark snapped. The head and the gut was just too much weight for the backbone to carry, Away she went, all the way down to the bottom, never to be seen again. Well….that is what I thought. All I had left was the tail dangling on the rope. Not to worry, I had my bait. I parked my Landrover on the road; got the tinny back on my boat and off I went, steaming at full throttle to the continental shelf to continue my fishing.

At about 6 am I reported in to the coastguard, and told them everything was A-OK, and then the guy said “Archie, just hang a sec. I’ve got a telephone call for you”. I wondered who in the heck wanted to call me out here in the open. Didn’t have to wait long to find out.

“Hey Archie, Captain Reynolds here, where are you at the moment”? Strange question, he has never asked me this before. I said, “About 45 miles out on the shelf, why Captain?” Were you at Paihia wharf during the night? At that moment my mind was working overtime, and I countered by asking, “Why in the heck would you say that, when I am all the way out here?”
“Well” he said “There is this huge shark on the beach and it looks very suspicious.” I could hardly suppress my laughter, but I said, “Why Captain,
There is nothing strange about a shark being washed up on your holiday beach; in any case it would be a bonus for the holiday people to see such a big fish”. Whereupon the Captain says, yes it would be very good for the public. It is just strange however that somebody has filleted the fish before it broke the backbone, what is even stranger, your Landrover is………
At such a moment it is wise to take your pencil and rake it over the microphone; it sounds a lot of interference…..then turn your radio off.

Back to work I went. About an hour later, Snooks was on the buzzer. “Hey Archie, believe you had some trouble during the night behind my boat? Me? No Snooks no trouble at all. Thanks for the bait mate, I owe you one. Good fishing Snooks. Yes Archie you too, over and out. In the meantime I knew my friends would be having a good laugh. A good time was had by all. But smiling, I thought, my day will come!