Four Walruses from Arctic to Oceanarium

The Porpoise Watcher

Story of Bubbles The Whale

Taking Sharks Alive

Taking Sharks Alive!

The aim of these hunters is to get the fish safely to California's Marineland.

Article from the monthly publication Ford Times, 1972. Published by Ford Motor Company.  Article written and photographed by Bob Grant.

The Geronimo had been cruising the waters of the Pacific since well before dawn.  Her three-man crew was silent.  The only sounds were the quiet rumble of the twin diesels punctuated by the gentle lapping of the ocean against the hull.   Somewhere off to starboard was the island of Santa Catalina, to port was the California mainland.  The quiet waters failed to hint of the predatory creatures concealed in the depths.  "Shark!", came the electrifying cry from the bow, and "Boots" Calandrino came flying down the wheelhouse ladder two steps at a time.  On deck, Frank Brocato and Benny Falcone had everything ready.  The big blue shark was the whole purpose of the trip.  The motto of the Geronimo is the same as that of Frank Buck during the days of his famed African adventures - "Bring 'em Back Alive!"    Once snared, the big blues will be headed for a new home - Marineland of the Pacific - where they'll become part of the world's largest oceanarium.  Displays at Marineland, 25 miles south of Los Angeles, include everything from live sharks and sea lions to whales and dolphins.  Activities on the Geronimo's deck look more like the things that go on in a rodeo arena than on a fishing vessel.  In effect, what takes place is a shark roping and wrestling tournament.   Benny begins the process by "chumming" the big blue with chopped chunks of fish - some big enough to choke a horse.  At first the shark is wary.  It circles cautiously, suspicously eyeing the offering.  If it gets the smell of man on the bait, it will turn and swim for open water.  But greed overcomes fear and takes the bait.  The second chunk of fish disappears immediately after the first and quickly the shark goes into a feeding frenzy, charging voraciously from one chunk to another.  Meanwhile, a lasso is prepared.  It consists of a rope loop secured to a metal ring with twine.  The other end of the rope is secured to a sturdy winch driven from the Geronimo's power plant.  As the shark feeds, Boots slips the "ringer" in.  It is a chunk of fish fastened to a nearly invisible line.  The line goes through the center of the lasso, and the fish chunk is thrown to the shark.  When the shark finally gets around to the fish on the line, Benny carefully pulls it along, just ahead of the shark's jaws.  The lasso is lowered into the water and the shark slowly coaxed through its loop.  "Now!" shouts Boots, as he pulls the loop tight.  Benny drops the fish and gets a good hold on the line.  As the shark dives, line is released, and the battle becomes one of "playing" the shark just as an angler plays a big-game fish.   (the second installment of this article will be posted soon.)
Geronimo crew attempts to lasso elusive blue shark.
Frank Brocato hauls in the blue shark.
Once landed, the big blue require special handling on board (left) and at Marineland (right).