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Night Fishing

Today was a special fishing day because the whole SASC team went night fishing at New Harbour. As sharks are more active at night, we expected more captures, especially Pyjama sharks which I hadn’t seen yet. Our day started as usual at 7 AM in the lab where we worked on our projects, monitored our sharks, and set up the fishing gear for later. Around 10 AM we went to the intern house to have some personal time before we went to New Harbour at 3 PM. 

It was a quick job of getting all the bait, hand lines and rods ready, and in no time everyone had their own line in the water. I was still pretty new to fishing in general, but I was determined to catch my first shark tonight. Tom and I were getting bites almost immediately (though we were cheating by fishing over the bait canister…) and within the first 30 minutes we both caught our first shark! A Dark Shyshark for Tom and a Leopard Catshark for me.

A great catch

It was not even night yet and we’d already had an amazing start. Throughout the next 2 to 3 hours we had a total of 6 sharks, composed of Dark Shysharks and Leopard Catsharks. After that, it was a little quieter and a lot of my bait was stolen by octopuses. As it started to grow darker and colder, Emy felt a big pull. She started pulling the line in and all of a sudden we saw a large body coming to the surface. When we saw the stripes we knew it was a Pyjama shark. Unfortunately, the shark got free of the hook before it was above the surface, but we were sure it was longer than a meter. 

After a delicious fish and chip supper, Emy, once again, felt a strong tug on her line. We finally landed the long-awaited Pyjama shark. Everyone was excited during the measuring and tagging of the pretty PJ and this excitement was fueled even further when the second Pyjama was caught by Whitney not even 15 minutes later. After that, it had gone quiet once more and no sharks were biting our bait. Eventually, we decided to pack up our fishing gear and head back to the intern house at around 21.00 PM.

Normally, there is a slight competition for who can catch the most sharks, so for that night, Emy would be our winner with three sharks. However, as Guy didn’t win, catching nothing, “it wasn’t a real competition, of course”.

Janneke de Bresser

Night FishingNight Fishing