Last Word

Panic sets in dur­ing a boat match.

Sea Angler (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Four of us were fish­ing the Lam­lash Boat Fes­ti­val, held on the Isle of Arran, where we were sup­plied with 12ft and 14ft wooden boats with small Seag­ull out­boards.

It was a beau­ti­ful sunny day. The Firth of Clyde was like a sheet of glass, with not a breath of wind. One of the boats had lo­cated a shoal of haddock just out­side the en­trance to Lam­lash Bay and this had at­tracted 14 or 15 other ves­sels, in­clud­ing us – Bob, Terry, Dick and me.

Sud­denly we heard a voice: “What’s that?” Look­ing to­wards the Bay, we saw a group of bask­ing sharks com­ing straight to­wards us. Ev­ery­one pulled in their lines and no­body said a word. Sud­denly a boat close to us was rock­ing wildly, but we couldn’t see any­one in it. Ev­ery now and then a leg, arm or head would pop up and go back down.

We found out later that one of the guys on board had pan­icked at the sight of these huge things mov­ing to­wards them and wanted to get out. I have no idea where he thought he was go­ing. The other three mem­bers of the crew piled on top of him to stop him get­ting out of the boat.


“I wish one would come a bit closer to us, so I could take a photograph,” said Dick, at which point I no­ticed that one was mov­ing away from the rest. Be­ing a bit of a clever clogs, I said: “We’ll go af­ter that one; not too close though, and see if you can get your photograph”.

When we got to what I thought was a safe dis­tance from it, we cut the en­gine. I had an 8mm cine cam­era and was film­ing this shark, which was about 20 or so yards away. Look­ing through the lens, I re­alised that the huge fin was get­ting big­ger, and mut­tered: “That’s strange, I haven’t got a zoom lens”.

Sud­denly the penny dropped and I re­alised that the fin was com­ing straight to­wards us. Notic­ing what was hap­pen­ing, Terry grabbed the starter cord for the en­gine and, af­ter wind­ing it round the top, he pulled it so hard in his panic that the cord flew out of his hand and into the water and promptly sank.

Bob, on see­ing this, grabbed the oars and rowed faster than the tiny en­gine would have pushed us. I still have the cine film from all those years ago of that shark com­ing to­wards us.

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