If it’s beach weather, it’s time to look for fins in the water. Summer shark encounters can be safe — and intentional. Here are three ways to get near a set of jaws.
STAR ISLAND YACHT CLUB SHARK TOURNAMENT
For the past 30 years, the Star Island Yacht Club in Montauk has kicked off the summer with its annual shark tournament, and this Father’s Day weekend the tradition continues. Fishermen will compete in three categories: mako shark, blue shark and other species (typically tiger, hammerhead or thresher sharks).
“Fishing is not just about skill, it also involves luck,” says Sam Gershowitz, the club’s owner-president. “Sometimes a novice can win.”
Friday and Saturday at 6 a.m. the boats will leave the SIYC marina and head out to prime fishing spots. Only one shark is allowed to be kept per boat per day (endangered great whites must be released). The following weight minimums must be adhered to: mako shark (125 pounds), blue shark (200 pounds) and others (150 pounds). All boats must return by 6 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday.
A crowd gathers on the SIYC dock in the afternoon to watch the fish get weighed. Cash prizes ($1,000 to $30,000) and trophies are awarded to the top three winners in each category for both days at an awards dinner Saturday night.
Last year’s big winner was Dave Meberg, 53, of Huntington, and the crew aboard his boat, Thor III, who caught a 730-pound mako shark. Their catch won heaviest mako of the day and heaviest shark of the tournament.
“It was the biggest fish any of us had ever seen,” says Meberg, who works as a commercial floor-covering contractor. “The battle was five hours long. We knew we had a big fish, but we had no clue how big. When they announced 730 pounds, we all started hugging and high-fiving.”
Capt. John Becce, 40, of Merrick, has been fishing in the tournament for nearly a decade. He has caught everything from a 155-pound mako to a 225-pound blue shark.
“It’s so exciting because you are fishing against the clock,” says Becce, a radiologist who runs a charterboat, New Love Sportfishing, on the weekends in the summer. “When the reel starts screaming and that mako comes rocketing out of the water, it’s such a thrill.”
WHEN | WHERE 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Star Island Yacht Club, 59 Star Island Rd., Montauk
INFO 631-668-5052, starislandyc.com
ADMISSION $1,250 per boat
‘THE ULTIMATE SHARK EXPERIENCE BOAT TRIP’
Get on board Stony Brook University’s research vessel R/V Paumanok, courtesy of South Fork Natural History Museum, and venture out into the Atlantic Ocean off Shinnecock Inlet to see scientists from the Long Island Shark Collaboration — in a separate boat — catch, tag and measure a shark, and take DNA samples from its fins alongside the boat in the water. Guests can ask questions as the scientists work.
“We basically get a snapshot of the shark today — where it is, how big it is, what condition it’s in, which species it is — then let it go,” chief field officer Greg Metzger says. “It’s fun for people to see a shark roll up and splash at the water’s surface.”
WHEN | WHERE 9 a.m. Saturday, Stony Brook Southampton Campus, 239 Montauk Hwy., Southampton
‘SHARK WEEK’ AT THE MOVIES
Before Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week” begins July 23, catch new episode “Return to the Isle of Jaws” along with fan favorite “Return of Monster Mako” on the big screen for a one-night-only event.
“Isle of Jaws” follows divers and scientists as they explore an area filled with great white sharks south of western Australia, while “Monster Mako” focuses on a professional shark tagger and a team of marine biologists who use modern technology to document a 1,000-pound mako shark feeding on prey.
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. July 18, Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, 1001 Broadhollow Rd.; Westbury 12, 7000 Brush Hollow Rd.; Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Hwy.
INFO 855-473-4612, fathomevents.com