Shark Bit

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts, and wild tales from the outdoors


Feb. 8, 2006

Shark Bit

When most folks think about ice fishing, tip-up rigs and a nice mess of panfish usually come to mind. Not so for Diane Guillemette of Sainte-Rose-du Nord, Quebec, who fought a 500-pound Greenland shark for nearly 90 minutes last week before using a snowmobile to haul it through an enlarged ice hole. But wait ’til you read the rest of this fish tale!


Angler Hooked

After Quebec angler Diane Guillemette landed a 500-pound Greenland shark while ice fishing on the Saguenay fiord, her incredible catch was the toast of fishing columns and Internet weblogs around the world for several days.


J.R. Absher

Guillemette and her fishing partner told reporters they were hoping to land something for dinner when they hooked on to a something that was the size of a small car.


“It was about 680 feet down, completely at the bottom,” she proudly told the Canadian Press. “So it took 366 turns on a wheel crank to bring it to the surface.”


After enlarging their original ice hole considerably, the two anglers used their snowmobile to land the 506-pound, 10-foot shark. They stored their catch in a snowbank and planned to donate it to a local museum.


And that’s when our happy fish tale took an ironic turn.


Besides attracting the attention of the Internet fishing crowd, the folks at Fisheries and Oceans Canada also took notice of her catch. Upon investigation, officials found that Guillemette did not obtain the proper permit for landing and keeping a shark, and she should have cut her line and released the shark alive — which she did not.


Canadian fisheries agents are expected to determine the amount of the once famous — now infamous — angler’s citation and fine later this week.


Youth Hunting Bills Move Forward In Ohio, Pennsylvania

In an unanimous vote last week, the Ohio Senate approved a bill that creates an apprentice hunting license that allows parents and other qualified adult hunters to introduce youngsters and others to hunting prior to completion of a hunter education course.


The bill — HB 296 — now heads to Governor Bob Taft, who has indicated he will sign it. The legislation is part of the Families Afield initiative, a collaborative effort of the National Wild Turkey Federation, National Shooting Sports Foundation and U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.


The legislation aims to aid in the recruitment primarily of young hunters in an era of declining participation. By removing the hunter-education mandate, supporters believe that many youngsters will be more willing to try hunting with parents, friends or relatives.


During a ceremony in Pittsburgh last week, Pennsylvania became the first state where such legislation was officially signed into law, when Governor Ed Randell put his signature on the measure.


The Keystone State’s new law creates a youth mentoring program that will allow parents to introduce their sons and daughters to hunting before taking a hunter education course. Showing its strong support for the youth program, the state’s Senate voted 50-0, while the House cast a 195-1 vote to approve the bill.


Record Bear Season In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s hunters crushed the Commonwealth’s all-time black bear harvest by taking 4,164 bruins in the regular and extended 2005 bear seasons in November and December, according to the official final tally released last week by the Game Commission. The previous record of 3,075 bears was set in 2000.


For the first time in the state’s bear hunting history, 100 black bears or more were taken in 18 counties, with four counties — Clinton, Lycoming, Potter and Tioga — posting harvests in excess of 200.


In all, 17 bears taken by hunters exceeded 600 pounds. In addition, female hunters took 47 bears during the seasons. A total of 4,107 successful hunters used a rifle; 15 used a shotgun; 15 used a muzzleloader; 12 used a handgun; and nine used a bow. Six hunters did not report the method of hunting they used.


“Any time Pennsylvania hunters exceed the state record bear harvest by 25 percent, you have to figure they had some things working in their favor,” noted Mark Ternent, Pennsylvania Game Commission black bear biologist. “Five factors that helped were that hunters had more opportunity to take bears in the extended season; bear populations continue to remain high; we had a record number of bear hunters; a tremendous mast crop kept bears on the move and out of dens; and weather cooperated.”


Florida No. 1 In Boat Ownership

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports that Florida edged out California last year to become the state with the largest number of registered boats (946,072). California, which previously held the No. 1 ranking for the 2003 calendar year, swapped spots with Florida to become the third largest registered boating state, with a total of 894,884 registered vessels. Michigan occupies the number two spot in the rankings with a total of 944,800 registered boats.


Nationwide, there were nearly 12.8 million registered boats in 2004, suggesting a relatively flat fluctuation (down less than 0.1 percent) from 2003.


The report ranks all 50 states by the number of boats registered. The remaining top 10 states by powerboat registrations in 2004 include (in order): Minnesota (853,448); Texas (616,779); Wisconsin (605,467); New York (519,066); Ohio (414,938); South Carolina (397,458); and Illinois (393,856).


On a regional basis, the Great Lakes region replaced the South Atlantic region as No. 1 in regional rankings, with the South Atlantic region falling to third behind the Inland region.


Quote Of The Week

“It’s no doubt symptomatic of the time that everybody wants to catch fish; all well and good. But it also seems that we want to catch the most fish in the least amount of time while covering the greatest distances. I doubt that the Creator had that in mind when he so kindly designed the largemouth.”

-Gene Hill

“A Quieter Time”

Field & Stream, 1982


J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. Visit his Web sites, The Outdoor Pressroom (www.outdoorpressroom.com and The Outdoor Weblog www.outdoorweblog.com) to find the latest outdoor news of interest. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at jrabsher@outdoorpressroom.com.

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