Fall had finally arrived here in Florida. A weather system to our north pushed groomed sets around Cape Canaveral and straight into southern Brevard County.
I arrived beachside very early in the morning. As I drove down A-1A, I found parking lot after parking lot to be full which is pretty crazy for a Thursday. Then I pulled into a popular park and found some empty spaces which was odd considering the crowds at the less popular spots.
The place was a buzzing. People quickly got changed to get into the water. Once I paddled out, I felt the same vibe as perfect waves spun past me. The water was alive. It was also alive with fish. Schools of baitfish to be precise. Every few minutes a dolphin would breach or a large Tarpon would roll and suck in the prized fish.
So I went to work.
After about an hour, I sat watching the horizon for some signs of a incoming set. The current was sweeping southwards and the schools of mullet were off in that same direction. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a small black blob began to form just below the surface and a few fish jumped out of the water. The blob spread quickly and now was over thirty feet in diameter. Then the action started. Angry tails and fins whipped through the black and fish were jumping for their lives.
It did not take long for this cauldron to overtake me. All around me were splashes and the water fizzed like a Jacuzzi.
Then came a set. I assumed the push up position and balanced my limbs away from the water. Then I noticed to my left a torpedo shape knifing through the fish. A shark.
Sharks normally can see what is going on but in this situation; they close their eyes and just swim and eat. The shark whipped back and forth and very quickly I drew a line from him to me. Collision course!
So I readied myself and then we collided with a thump. The shark realizing that he has ran into something stopping him from his quest to engorge himself and me wanting to keep out his way.
So I began to let him work his way by and I moved my board to let him pass under. All the while trying to keep my hands free of his mouth.
So after a few moments, it was over. The shark got by and the bait pod moved on with the current. Then the churning subsided and disappeared leaving me sitting in a calm ocean.
I had to regroup for a few minutes of course but calmed down knowing that this was just a meeting of two different worlds at the beach. The shark wanting to get the fish and me wanting to get the waves. Neither having any interest in bothering the other.
I went back to work again and actually caught one of the best waves of the day right after the incident.
Thus is fall in Florida.
Here is a video to show what you can expect if you are caught in the middle of a bait pod. Video by BlacktipH.