It was time for me to have a chat with good friend Martin Bowler, especially after seeing his shark fishing exploits being picked up by the national press (Daily Mail Online and the Metro) recently.
Their slant on the story seemed to be, of a mad couple of fishermen trying to film sharks underwater off the Cornish coast… and all done on a shoestring budget, with the cameraman stuffed into a rusty old laundry cage, then dropped over the side of the boat.
Well some of the details were right, as Martin explained 'We chartered the White Water out of Milford Haven, skippered by Andrew Alsop, to a spot in the Celtic Sea, where the Irish Sea, English Channel, and Atlantic all converge. It's where the gulf stream arrives... and with it come the sharks'.
As part of Martin's latest DVD release, Seeking Shadows, the chance to film sharks feeding in their natural environment off the British coast, would fit in perfectly with the unique footage of other species being targeting for the DVD.
Arriving at their chosen spot, the area was baited up with 'chum', a mixture of fish heads and guts, and Martin tells me it wasn't long before they had company.
With half a dozen blue and porbeagle sharks now circling the area, cameraman Michael Jackson climbs into the cage, which is basically an old linen trolley that they picked up from a scrapyard. 'It only had three sides, so we fixed some pig wire on the front, up to about waist height, which then allowed Michael to lean out to film the sharks. With three floats fixed to the top for buoyancy, we then tied a 30ft bungee rope to it which we then fed out until Michael was about 20ft from the boat'.
Martin continues, 'With Michael now filming, we kept the bait going in and got some great shots of the sharks feeding, a lot of which has never been filmed before, but with around 60ft visibility in the water we lost sight of one of the big blues, an 8 footer, that after a few minutes, it suddenly reappears and rams the cage!'
Even though it's a highlight Martin points out that there's plenty of other great fishing footage to enjoy, so I ask him if he is pleased with the final product 'Yes, of course, I've been putting this together now for the last two and a half years, that's a lot of my time… and my money!'
'So I hope the guys buy it, and I hope they'll enjoy it'. Well from all the reports I've heard it's a quality product, and just what we'd expect from such a top operator.
We'll chat again soon Martin, and I'll put up a review of Seeking Shadows in the next few days mate!