Shark Encounter – Brian Hebets

San Diego native, Brian Hebets has been intrigued by the ocean and sharks since childhood. The movie Jaws brought this love of sharks to a whole new level. It is a big part of his artwork and passion. He shared with BD some of his personal shark stories. You can see more of his work on his website.

Q:What’s the biggest shark you’ve ever caught?

A:I can’t really brag about a big catch here but I did have a nice catch and release of an 8-foot thresher shark.

Q:What’s the biggest you’ve seen?

A:I was cage diving out in Haleiwa, HI last year and had a chance to be up close and personal with a 10-foot female Galapagos shark. Definitely much bigger in person but it was an unbelievable experience to say the least.

Q:Where have you seen the most sharks?

A:Same dive, there were about 15 or so sharks cruising all around us the whole time. We had sandbars, Galapagos and one nasty looking barracuda checking us out.

Q:Have you ever been bitten?

A:Hell no. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Q:What species would you call your favorite?

A:Hands down…the great white shark, one of Mother Nature’s greatest designs. I grew up a “JAWS” fan and it has been my favorite ever since. I love the build of their body structure and the power they possess, especially when they go beast mode on a seal and breach the surface. That’s really impressive. They’re just a fascinating animal to watch.

Q:What is your least favorite shark?

A:I really don’t have one I dislike but I guess it would have to be smoothhound sharks. I catch them all the time when I’m fishing and they can get annoying.

Q:Please tell the story of your most memorable shark encounter?

A:It would have to be my first thresher shark I caught. It was completely unexpected and it put up a damn good fight. When I finally got it to the boat, I had a moment where I was somewhat star struck. To finally see one up close for the first time is something you never forget. The coloring down the side along with that big ass tail was really cool. Then it was gone in a split second. Got the hook out and watched it disappear with one giant splash. I’m stoked that I got that on film!

Photo Credit: Brian Hebets