Two seasons ago I became obsessed with a body of water called De Mond. I fished it every single weekend for almost 6 months straight and witnessed some remarkable things.
The 18th of December 2010 was particularly special. The sea temperature was unusually warm (the previous weekend I measured the lagoon temperature at 26 degrees on the bottom, under the bridge on the high tide). My favourite conditions are high water and a high sun, no clouds, to help with spotting fish. The 18th was the inverse. High tide was 9am and the mist rolled in through the valleys with a 8-10knt southern breeze. I swam across the channel to my usual spot and waited for the fish to come up from the channel on to the flat. I was sopping wet from the swim and getting rained on. The tidal push was 1.95m, higher than usual and meant that I had to stand chest deep to avoid spooking the fish.
The lagoon was alive with activity. I had seen Kob hunt on this flat so when I felt water swish behind my calves I thought that’s exactly what had happened-A big Kob had come up out of the skinny channel and spooked at the sight of me. But there was far too much sand in the water, even for a large Kob. My heart rate had picked up slightly and I was uncomfortable because the low light meant my polarized glasses couldn’t see through the water like they usually could. I was still busy convincing myself it was a Kob when I caught something out the corner of my eye.
A big, dark shape pushing a bow wake turned off to my right and started heading straight back towards me. The dorsal wasnt exposed yet but from my experience in the tropics I knew it was a decent sized shark. I hoped it would just cruise past like Reef Sharks and Lemons do. It didn’t. It was now 5 meters away and I could see its pectoral fins flexed straight down. Not a good sign. Broad, blunt head. And then I realized. Bull shark! SH%T. I put my hands in my stripping basket and flinched as it turned right in front of me. Less than a meter off. Close enough for me to see the water pumping through its gills
It shot straight off across the flat into shallower water and I watched it chase 2 Grunter that Id been waiting for. Darting across the flat wildly I could see it was in feeding mode. Unsuccessful with the Grunter it turned again. I wasn’t about to take a chance. I jumped into the channel behind me and swam across it, not looking back.
I’ve got a couple hundred dives to my name and some serious wading hours all over and I have never felt as threatened by a shark in the water. It was the first and last shark I ever saw at De Mond and I’m convinced that had I not swam away I would have gotten much much closer with that animal.