Man, after seeing some of these stories the one I wanted to share seems lame in comparison. (and forgive me for waiting so long to get back to this thread, kudos to Slater for reviving it)
(Forgive me if you've already heard this story)
I live in Louisiana so it's only natural that I like taking vacation to the Gulf Coast; mainly Florida. So, fishing trip to Panama City Beach. Me, my buddy, 2 ocean kayaks, and a lot of Gin and orange juice.
So, surf fishing from the beach in St. Andrews bay, we kayaked out some shark rigs (huge hook, 9ft. 450lb leader) with the "man in the grey suit's" favorite on the hook: Bonito. Also, dropped a block of chum; Captain Salty's brand!
45 minutes later, hooked what I believe was a big bull shark. I flipped the drag on and run back on the beach to set the hook, then started reeling. Had a hook set, but then he ran at me (as they love to do).. I'm guessing the hook came out when he ran, because a minute later after reeling I saw about 8ft of shark appear in the surf.. nearly wet myself... then realized he was just chasing the bait at this point. After some homework (this was my first shark fishing experience) I didn't hook my bait right. Anyhow, now worries, reset and try again.
Next, a party barge comes zooming by as my buddy is kayaking his bait out, crosses the line. They didn't realize it but they were taking up 60# test and about to eat a 9ft. cable. Goodbye prop! I screamed as loudly as I could to stop and somehow they heard and did. I reeled them in with the 50 wide, went out in the surf and cut about 50 yards of line off their prop, saved my buddy's shark rig, and sent them on their way in good spirits. My buddy was pissed because they should have been more alert, but I realize that things happen and they weren't doing it on purpose.
We set up my buddy's rig again, kayaked it out, and got he got a hook up a little while later. After a quick 5 - 10 minute tussle, he brought into the surf a nice little hammerhead; 6 to 7 ft of em. Now, as I said, Louisianian's like Florida, went there almost every year as a kid growing up. There are 2 things me and my brother always wanted: Pirate treasure, and a shark. Well.... fast-forward 20 something years and voila... you are in Florida and there is your shark! Soooo... needless to say I forgot the noose for his tail altogether, let alone not realizing this animal was only coming up to see what was going on. Ran into 3ft of water and grabbed onto his tail! (yes, I'm crazy everyone, secret's out). After a 20 second tussle, and taking an epic tail to the face (knocked off my hat and glasses) I was forced to let the shark go. He shot down and away like nothing, ripping drag off for a minute. So much for ending this thing quickly!
It was at this time that I realized my right hand was sprained. I could barely close it. No worries, I see the shark coming to the surface again.
Ran right back out there and grabbed him again. After a good 30 seconds I managed to muscle him into the sand. Wow, that was hell! Looked up to notice I had stopped boat traffic and people were filming. Great to know I'm on someone's family vacation film ripping a shark out of the water like a madman.
Anyhow, here's some pics of the whole thing, and yeah, I'll probably use a rope next time. Although, I wouldn't have traded that experience for anything in the world.
(btw that is my friend in the picture not me, he's 6'3" or so I think)