By Paul Lebowitz
A toothy Galapagos shark came thrashing violently out of the water a few feet from Oahu-based kayak angler Isaac Brumaghim on Sunday, momentarily startling the experienced waterman. The big fish wasn’t after Brumaghim—it
wanted a taste of the kawakawa on the end of his line.
“Here are some photo grabs of a fun day I had with my pet shark Chompy! I am still trying to teach him how to catch kawakawas in the air,” the unperturbed Brumaghim joked on Facebook when he posted the remarkable series of photos. That he looks more mildly annoyed than afraid is little surprise.
Brumaghim said the flying shark had been “taxing” his Aquahunters.com Kayak Fishing crew all day'it¹s nothing unusual or even all that bothersome. “It’s the ocean. Sharks live in the ocean. You’re in his domain. You get a fish, a shark might eat it. I’m not mad at it,” Brumaghim said.
After the encounter, he went back to fishing, ultimately decking another kawakawa and a shibi. He was back out again on Tuesday. “Sharks didn’t cross my mind once. I’m more worried about whales jumping or the current sucking me down to the point. Sharks bite off my fish every other day. It’s never stopped me if the bite is hot,” he said.
Brumaghim was surprised his Facebook photos went viral so quickly. He said it had been shared more than 1,800 times in two days. He’s wary of sensationalism. “I want people to get past the shark and catch up on what the Aquahunters have done the past few years. I want it to bring more life to Hawaii kayak fishing. Our athletes can get a little more notoriety for what we do,” he said. Aquahunters hold several kayak fishing all-tackle records including the reigning champion. Andy Cho’s 225-pound blue marlin caught in 2010 remains the heaviest unassisted kayak catch.