AMERICAN SHARK WRESTLER, CHEF, BOATER AND ICEBERG HUNTER EDITED BY ANN DERMODY
BRETT MCBRIDE — THE EVOLUTION OF A SHARK MAN
A childhood dream to become a professional fisherman takes an unexpected twist
CAPTAIN BRETT MCBRIDE, who sprang to fame on National Geographic’s “Shark Men”, says he is not a showboater. This is partly a response to critics who have accused him of exactly that. As he says it, he’s demonstrating his technique for leading a 17-foot long great white into a metal-and-plastic corral, lifting the
whole thing out of the water to tag the shark, while streaming seawater over its
gills with a hose, and then steering the huge animal out the other side, by the tail.
(It is no more complicated, and no saner, than it sounds.)
McBride is the captain aboard Ocearch, the vessel owned by the organization, of the
same name, that facilitates the research of sharks. They partner with scientists to give them
a research platform for tagging and testing great whites. Scientists who’ve worked with them
say it is a unique opportunity to document a species about which little is known, but the
mission has not been without controversy. Before the vessel arrived in Cape Cod last summer, a petition against them circulated, criticizing their methods. If there is an element of
showmanship in what he does, McBride says it’s for a good cause.
“The television part is a huge part of what
we do,” McBride says. “It creates awareness.
We have millions of kids watching. There
might be 10 thousand new marine biologists
that are 6 or 12 years old now and are getting
inspired by what we’re doing.”
McBride has been in front of the camera
for 15 years now, first on ESPN2’s “Offshore
Adventures”, then a progression of shows
(“Ocean Hunters”, “Shark Hunters”, “Shark
Men”) leading to “Shark Wranglers” (on the
History Channel), which documents the
voyages of their boat.
Before the cameras started rolling, though,
he was a 5-year-old kid obsessed with sharks
and animals in general, who knew he wanted
to be a professional fisherman, and started
working on a fishing boat at the age of 11.
Shark wrestling is all in a day’s work for Brett McBride.