Catch and Release, Supersized

Catch and Release, Supersized

Catch and Release, Supersized

Keeping the shark near the surface so that it cannot dive under the submerged lift is one of the tricks that had to be worked out on the fly. McBride came up with the idea of having the balls slide on carabiner clips and using a butter knife taped on the line to keep the ball up close and personal to the shark so that the shark cannot dive. While a lot of neat innovations were cobbled together for the overall mission, this trick might have been the one that allowed it to work.
Catch and Release, Supersized

Catch and Release, Supersized

After the shark is baited and hooked, it swims off towing a series of float balls. The crew follows the shark in a center console and, after the shark tires, essentially tows it back to the mother ship and the submerged lift. Dr. Domeier had to make a circle hook for this process by bending the biggest J-hook made by Mustad and then retempering it. The special hook assures that the fish is caught in the corner of the mouth, minimizing injury and allowing for easier removal. (Your hands, not mine!)
Catch and Release, Supersized

Catch and Release, Supersized

Big Hook: These giant sharks, the largest ever caught and released, can easily straighten the huge circle hooks needed to catch them.
Catch and Release, Supersized

Catch and Release, Supersized

The moment of truth. After a shark is pulled above the submerged lift, the lift is raised quickly to the surface, bringing a shark weighing as much as 4,000 pounds from its own element into ours. Coming face to face with a great white on our terms has never been done and is how this research can now be carried out so effectively.
Catch and Release, Supersized

Catch and Release, Supersized

Part of the research project requires the drawing of blood for hormone assay. This determines whether the shark is in spawning mode and tells researchers whether the animal was in the area to breed; if it wasn¿t, it was feeding or transiting. With this shark, the blood is being drawn from the small puncture wound left after the circle hook was removed. Finding a vein on a large animal like this is not an easy process, which is why the sample is taken at the corner of the mouth.
Catch and Release, Supersized

Catch and Release, Supersized

Once a shark is secured on the lift, the team goes to work getting the tag assembly on the dorsal, measuring the fish, drawing its blood, and checking its sex by looking for clasper fins. Keeping the shark wet helps it through the process. The whole procedure is videotaped for a National Geographic show on this amazing feat. This hair-raising research project/extreme angling endeavor was filmed by Fischer Productions for the National Geographic Channel and will air on Monday, Nov. 16, at 9 p.m. EST.