Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shark Tale

My dad's first cousin, Edgar Green was born in Lowndes County Georgia but grew up in Cortez, Florida. His father ran the Manatee River Fish Company in Cortez so Edgar knew all about fishing.

Edgar fished for sharks off the beach of Anna Maria Island. The tourist who flock to that beach today wouldn't want to know there are so many sharks swimming around them so it is rarely mentioned in the local newspapers.

Back then sharks were caught for their oil, much like whales had been. They would setup a big cauldron on the beach and cook the the flesh down to oil, bottle it up and sell it to pharmaceutical companies.

This photo is of the Great White shark Edgar caught on Christmas Eve 1937. He caught it on a fishing line less than 100 yards from the beach. Edgar was by himself that day and so had to fight it alone, finally tiring it out and using his skiff, pulled the shark up to the end of Longboat Beach.
The size of this shark has been debated ever since. Some say it was the largest Great White ever caught in North American waters. Edgar said he laid his fishing oar next to the shark and it was longer than the oar by another 6 feet. That would have made it 22 to 24 feet long. The record Great White caught in North America, most people recognize today, is a 20 foot shark caught off Canada in 1988.

Edgar was a pretty successful fisherman and caught some other large sharks. This picture shows him with a large hammerhead.

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