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Ketchikan Combat Fishing: Bear Vs Shark

From The Redoubt Reporter, a newspaper published weekly in Soldotna, comes this epic tale of a commercial fisherman who found himself mediating a bear versus shark tug-of-war. Earlier this week fisherman Bill Holt, a trail caretaker and school board member, dropped his nets in Clam Cove just outside Ketchikan. Holt place his buoy as close to the shore as he could, given state regulations. He and his other crew members (his 12 year old son Galen, and an assistant named Maggie who is entering Harvard Medical School next fall) proceeded to lay out the rest of the net. As the tide started running out, and they began bringing in fish, Holt suddenly saw the buoy bob below the surface and start "thrashing around." Holt quickly discovered that a salmon shark had become entangled in his net. Salmon sharks are a swift species which reach lengths of six to eight feet long, and can weigh up to 500 pounds. Judging by the pictures on the Redoubt Reporter's blog post, Holt had caught a whopper. As the salmon shark struggled to free itself, the thrashing movement of the buoy caught the attention of a black bear which was strolling along the shore. The bear grabbed the buoy in its teeth and hauled it up onto the shore, then dropped it. The shark's struggles dragged the buoy back into the water, which prompted the bear to again pull the buoy back on shore. Meanwhile, Holt was working to free the shark from his equipment before it could cause too much damage. He managed to haul the shark partly out of the water and cut it free, and returned to fishing with the remainder of his net. Although technically this wildlife match-up would be considered a draw, in this case it was advantage: shark. But only thanks to human interference in favor of the shark. We eagerly await reports of a rematch.