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515-pound Tiger Shark wins Edisto Shark Tourney

Chip Michalove (left) and angler Brian Walsh celebrate at weigh-in.

Chip Michalove (left) and angler Brian Walsh celebrate at weigh-in.

On Saturday, June 8, the shark hunters of the Lowcountry took aim at the biggest and baddest of these top predators. The Annual Edisto Shark Tournament at Edisto Watersports, with help from Freddy Avant, drew a field of 28 boats. There was drama that day, with a boat from Hilton Head bringing in a large shark with less than ten minutes to go in the weigh-in, giving angler Brian Walsh the victory.

Walsh was fishing with Captain Chip Michalove, out of Hilton Head Harbor Marina in a 26-foot Glacier Bay catamaran boat. Michalove runs Outcast Fishing Charters and is known for his shark-hunting prowess. It was back in 2010, when Michalove guided angler Stephen Liesen from Quincy, Illinois, to the current S.C. state record for lemon shark. That shark weighed 380 pounds, and was caught on July 22, beating a record that had stood since 2002.

With the 2013 Edisto Shark Tourney win, Michalove also has the distinction of having won the event three times, and with two second-place finishes to boot. “We shoved off at 6:30 a.m., and went to my regular shark-fishing hole,” said Michalove. “But the fishing was slow there, and we boated only one blacktip shark in the 80 to 90-pound range, so I decided to head offshore.”

Angler Barry Fontaine and Laird Summerlin (both next to shark) with their second place Tiger shark. Photo submitted

Angler Barry Fontaine and Laird Summerlin (both next to shark) with their second place Tiger shark. Photo submitted

It was late in the morning when friend Brian Walsh was holding a Shimano Talus reel spooled with 200-pound braid line and a Shimano Tiagra 50-wide reel. “We had one-half of an amberjack out for bait, and the big shark thrashed it at noon,” said Michalove. “He fought the shark for 1.5 hours; but, when he got it to the boat, we had some trouble.”

Facing a 30-mile run back to shore, they were unable to load the shark into the boat. With 75 percent of the shark hanging out of the back of the boat, it put a strain on the twin outboard motors, and one of them stalled out. Time was getting tight about making it back to Edisto before the weigh-in was over at 5:30 p.m.

“Somehow, we were able to effect repairs to the motor and get it running again, and then we gunned it for Edisto,” said Michalove. “When we finally pulled up to the dock, the crowd went wild, and we had already heard that a 233.5-pound Tiger shark was on the dock. Our shark lost a lot of blood as we towed it back in, but it still tipped the scales at 515 pounds, good for a $4000 payday.”

Michalove and Walsh celebrated by cutting the jaws out of the awesome creature, and then donated the meat to some Edisto locals, who promised to eat it. In second place was Barry Fontaine fishing with Laird Summerlin of Edisto in a 28-foot center console. Their shark hit at 11 a.m. and was boated by noon; they were fishing five miles offshore. “If you’re going to lose the tourney, you don’t mind so much losing to a shark that weighs 200 pounds more than yours,” said Summerlin.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (288 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com