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Local Lore

'Old Hitler'

Say the name 'Old Hitler' around anyone with a history of fishing the waters of Tampa Bay and they will immediately picture a large (possibly 20' or better) Hammerhead shark.
Very much a legend but in fact a myth, no one fish could be responsible for the untold number of stories that have helped build the lore. A behemoth of a shark that haunted and hunted the waters of Tampa Bay, especially around Egmont channel and the Skyway Bridge for many years…
Once the legend was born anyone hooking anything in the bay that was too much for the tackle being used "had to have been" 'Old Hitler'. Not to discredit anyone that has actually done battle with or encountered a shark in the upper size ranges of their species…It is widely known that large numbers of Hammerhead Sharks migrate or travel with schools of tarpon and other migratory fishes. It is not uncommon to see larger specimens making a snack out of 150 pound plus tarpon.

To a giant shark, a hooked tarpon is like a white-bait being fished for a snook, trout etc… Hammerheads and other large sharks home in on hooked tarpon and there are probably as many stories of tarpon anglers having their trophies being eaten in two or three bites, as there are 'Old Hitler' encounters…

Do you have any idea how big a 17-foot shark looks from 12 foot rowboat?
[To be continued]

Anyone who has comments or would like to contribute to this
or other local fishing lore is welcome to send pictures and or
text to the e-mail address at the bottom of the page…

Mysterious Tracks

Although this story is not directly related to local fishing interests, at the time it was cause for some local anglers to be a bit more cautious for a couple of days…
A search is still underway for the actual published accounts of what turned out to be nothing but a prank.
(Anyone with information on this is welcome to submit it)
What follows is the gist of the story without any factual data such as names and dates …
Sometime in the 1950's a couple of gents on Clearwater Beach with too much time on their hands decided to have some fun with locals and tourists alike. A sea-monster was born …
After forming a mold, a massive concrete foot (claw) was poured and manicured for their deception. Fitted with a stick handle the 50-pound plus "stamp" was ready for action!
Once they had the tides in their favor the monster was born. Waking many hours before daylight for two days running they carried the "stamp" down on the beach and carefully made imprints in what was to resemble the tracks of a giant creature. Made to appear as the monster came out of the water, walked along the beach and disappeared again.
The buzz began with the earliest beachcombers that walked the beach as the sun was just rising. Officials and Scientists alike were called to the scene. Speculations grew and the story spread. So much was made in such a short time the pranksters were unable to carry the gag any further and admitted they were responsible!


'No Name' Storms Facts and Fallacy

coming soon

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