The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

FORCE OF HABIT: Everyone wanted to get in on the thrill of shark fishing, including these nuns from upstate New York who booked trips with Montauk charter-boat skipper Walter Haab every season.Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

OVERKILL: Early sharkers felt they were doing mankind a favor by dispatching every caught fish.Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

In the '70s, gear put the advantage squarely in favor of the sharks. (left) The author, left, poses with a 405-pound mako shark caught off Montauk that, for a time, stood as the New York State record. The mark didn't last very long when Monster Man Frank Mundus put James Melanson on a 1,080-pound mako on the Cricket II.Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

Sophisticated tackle and techniques were never high on the list of priorities for shark-fishing pioneers. Once the calendar flipped to June, it was time to clamber aboard their boats with a few buckets of chum and long trolling rods in search of 100-foot depths. Truth be known, the fishing consisted of many hours of ladling chum into the drift line and waiting and hoping until something-anything-happened. On some days it did. Outdoor Life Fishing Editor Jerry Gibbs puts the screws to a tiger shark-or vice versa-in the Butterfish Hole off Montauk Point, Long island.Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

MAKO MADNESS: Nothing draws the crowds to the marina docks like a freshly caught shark. Here, the author poses with a big mako at the Montauk Marine Basin.Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

Long before the Hollywood shark craze gripped the country, controversial Captian Frank Mundus recognized the star power of sharks. While many other Montauk charter-boat skippers scoffed, Mundus built a solid client list of anglers who craved the thrill of catching a "man-eater." It was a fishing trip with Jaws author Peter Benchley that sealed his legend as did the capture of this 3,427-pound great white in 1986. Ironically, it was Mundus himself who initiated serious dialogue about shark conservation with sportsman and biologists. Today, he's acknowledged as being one of the pioneers in shark-tagging research despite a contradictory reputation.Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

Light-tackle anglers, like this group shown with the author, abound.Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'Al Ristori
The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'

The Dawn of Sharkin'Al Ristori