The following is a guest blog by Matt's fellow Assistant Scoutmaster Tim Kneale.
The first thing I need everyone to know is that this post has nothing to do with:
If you were just looking for a quick hair metal fix, I'm so sorry.
My family and I went to Cocoa Beach, Florida this year for spring break. This area is noted for perhaps the best surf on the East Coast, and the entire family was hoping to indulge our passion for bodysurfing - or even real surfing if the waves were right. However, the Atlantic Coast weather this year was just not conducive to good waves. Instead of 4-foot rollers, we got a lot of 1-foot chop. So we decided to take a day off and go fishing!
We chose a half-day group expedition with the Orlando Princess, a nice boat out of the large Port Canaveral complex not far from where we stayed. The crew was a young and energetic team, and very helpful. After a short safety speech, we were off through the channel and out to sea, toting Fishing Bottles instead of the deep sea rigs of the other passengers. We cut through the chop for about an hour, leaving all signs of land behind, before reaching the first fishing ground in about 90 feet (30m) of water.
With our Reel Cool Fishing Bottles already rigged with 25-pound monofilament, it was easy to drop our lines in the water while the rest of the 40 or so passengers were still fumbling with their tackle. Thus my son Riley was the first passenger to haul in a catch...a shark! Here's the evidence, before we released it:
We caught several more fish, creating a lot of curiosity among the other passengers and crew. It was obvious that the handline fishing technique with the Fishing Bottle gave us a better feel for what was happening at the other end of our line than could be sensed with a relatively stiff deep-sea rod and reel. We stayed pretty busy until the boat moved to an area where very few fish were biting in the early afternoon. We soon learned why all the fish had scattered, when a gigantic brown shadow slowly moved up one side of the boat and down the other. It was a great white shark, roughly 15 feet / 5m long, swimming just below the surface. The boat crew got a picture from the bridge:
They also shot some video and posted it to their Facebook page. This was the first Great White the first mate had seen in 5 years of non-stop daily deep sea runs, so it was a pretty rare and special event, and easily the highlight of our day on the high seas.