Shark Wrestler


Brett McBride — The Evolution Of A Shark Man

By Chris Landers
Published: April/May 2013

A childhood dream to become a professional fisherman takes an unexpected twist.

Photo of Brett McBride with Mary Lee Photo: Ocearch

Before the cameras started rolling, though, he was a 5-year-old kid obsessed with sharks and animals in general, who knew he wanted to be a professional fisherman, and started working on a fishing boat at the age of 11.

Photo of Brett McBride

"You don't always know what you're going to learn, or what you're going to think about," he says. "When I started doing the shark thing, part of it was trying to keep a job, quite frankly. I wasn't a conservationist, I didn't say ‘I'm going to go out there and do this.' I love the ocean, because the ocean has given me everything. It's my time to give back."

McBride and the rest of the crew, part mariners, part fishermen, part researchers, and part television stars, travel the world to capture and tag great white sharks. They'll be the first to tell you that it isn't a bad gig. They have been from Cape Town to California to (most recently) Cape Cod where I caught up with them. Their New England mission isn't being televised, but they had a cameraman aboard, to film for their blog, and the visit, coming at a time when sharks were resurgent in the land of "Jaws", got its share of press.

Outside on the deck, McBride pointed out different parts of the shark corral and showed off a specially designed shark hook they've improved with a butter knife and a Styrofoam float. He says again that he isn't showing off, and then he tells a story to illustrate how safe it is to swim with the sharks. "You can't buy a shark attack," he says. "I've swum in the middle of shark schools, probably six or 800 sharks in a feeding frenzy, where all you see is fins, tails, and teeth. As a point, to show people they were going to [only] eat the bait, I swim up, with my arms and legs out and just shut my eyes for a minute, with the sharks slamming into me. When I opened up my eyes, they were gone."End of story marker

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