The Shark Brothers - actual blood brothers who share the same last name - will present "Sharkstravaganza" at a free children's clinic in the Bay Walk area at noon Saturday as part of 2009 Shark Fest today and Sunday on Fort Myers Beach.
Sean and Brooks Paxton are catch, tag and release shark fishing specialists from North Port. The brothers are known for their biography on Frank "the Monsterman" Mundus, the Captain Quint character on which the movie "Jaws" was based. Mundus was the captain of the Cricket II boat that was responsible for the largest shark ever caught on rod and reel. Angler Donnie Braddick caught the 3,427 pound great white shark.
"Our underlying theme and goal of this is for people to come down and leave with a greater understanding, broader appreciation and respect for these animals," the brothers Paxton agreed.
The Paxton Brothers will show some of the memorabilia they have collected from the show as well as a Monsters from the Deep traveling exhibit. They also will entertain festival goers with a shark show and tell.
They will have some special artifacts and specimens including teeth from the largest shark ever caught. They will pass around skin samples of sharks because they are made up of millions of tiny little teeth. They'll have tiger jaws that were proven to be responsible for several attacks in Hawaii in the 1990s. They'll also have lots of video that supports the type of work they do and footage of the largest shark ever caught on rod and reel.
The brothers will be indirectly involved in the Are You Man Enough Shark Challenge 3, the catch-and-release shark tournament where teams of anglers from around the country begin their full moon, overnight competition at 8 p.m. Saturday to grab the prize for the biggest catch.
With the format change to all catch-and-release, they will go out before the tournament and pre-tag and release five sharks. Those tags will have cash and prize awards attached. So, should an angler catch one of those sharks and snip that tag off and retrieve it, they can win big money in cash and prizes.
The tagging process does not harm the sharks.
They will use platform boats using traditional methods like circle hooks, line and bait where one of the two will use a tag stick with tags specifically provided by the National Marine Fishery Service. The tag will be applied to the skin right next to the dorsal fin, "sort of like a shot for a human being with the same amount of discomfort."
The Shark Brothers then explained what happens if the tagged shark doesn't get hooked and the tag remains on its skin.
If the tags are not retrieved, the benefit is that these tags will go into an international data base for the National Marine Fishery Service to propagate shark research, they said.
Shark Fest 2009
Tournament Director Jack Donlon - also the festival founder- and the Bay Walk Group at Times Square are hosting the inaugural Shark Fest, a combination boat show, street fair and shark contest. On Saturday and Sunday, Old San Carlos Boulevard will be closed from 3rd Street to the waterfront to make room for new and used boats that will be on display on land as well as the Back Bay during the festival; more than 80 vendors featuring nautical, educational and shark merchandise; live bands; a bounce house for the kids; and a mechanical shark ride for the adults.
The Bay Walk Group - including Snug Harbor Waterside Restaurant; The Matanzas Inn and Waterfront Restaurant; The Smokin Oyster Brewery; The Yucatan Beach Bar & Grill; The Ship Wreck Motel and Treasures; and Surf Pie - will run specials during the weekend at their respective businesses.
The Yucatan Beach Stand, one restaurant in the group, will be having a MAKO Vodka promotion as well as Landshark beer specials, live entertainment, giveaways and JAWS trivia on both days of the event.
"We at the Yucatan are pleased with the recent changes to event making it more eco-friendly," said Yucatan General Manager Stevie DeAndelis. "The open container law has been relaxed so festival goers can stroll through the event grounds and see all the festival has to offer and enjoy a cold beverage at the same time. As a member of the Bay Walk Group, the Yucatan looks forward to more festivals and family friendly events in this venue."
Snug Harbor Waterside Restaurant, another Bay Walk eatery, will have a festival booth on the fountain side of his restaurant for take-out fare.
"It really is exciting to be able to use this space for the first time it was designed to be used," said Snug Harbor General Manager Mickey Ferry. "Under the gazebo, there will be a 12-foot (SharkTron) screen. The anglers will bring their picture and video cards (for viewing). People can see what is going on at the tournament."