Shark Fear While Kayak Fishing? Zap It with an Electrical Field

Sharks. They’re scary. If you ask anyone who experienced peak childhood in the ‘70s what the scariest movie is, you’d think you’d hear lots of The Exorcist (1973) or The Shining (1980) or The Omen (1976). But for a lot of people, it’s ‘we’re going to need a bigger boat.’

It makes sense. Some animals are cute and cuddly. Some are stately. Others are the kind of creatures you’d want to take out for a beer. (We’re looking at you, flying squirrels.) But sharks simultaneously evoke the characteristics of stupidity and pure evil. They seem to be the figurative offspring of Martin Shkreli and the xenomorph from Alien.

Most anglers who venture into waters with solid elasmobranch populations (that’s sharks, rays, kites, and others) don’t worry too much about their personal safety. Even in fishing kayaks, anglers tend to be very safe. Still, there’s no easier meal for a shark than a hooked fish. They’re like the lollipops of the underwater carnivorous world.

Also, it’s not like sharks never develop a taste for manflesh. Angler after angler after hilarious Aussie angler has dealt with a shark out on open water. Ryan Howell tangoed with an uppity great white off the California coast and has the tooth marks in his hull to prove it.  A man fishing off Maui in 2013 wasn’t so lucky. Shark fear is a natural, instinctual response to some of the largest predators on planet earth.

What if there was a device that could repel sharks, give you ease of mind out on the water, and protect your catch when you’re reeling it in? Well we’re glad you asked.

Did you ever hear how sharks can smell blood in the water from miles away? That’s not the end of it. It turns out that, when a creature’s flesh is pierced, most generate a stronger electromagnetic field around that area. Shark’s also have an organ in their nose called ampullae of Lorenzini that senses that field at closer ranges. By generating an electromagnetic field that messes with their senses, fishing nerds have figured out that you can actually repel sharks.

A couple devices are available for sale currently, and some are even designed for fishing kayaks. The Ocean Guardian Freedom7 extends down through your scupper just like a fish finder. A pair of electrodes produce a magnetic field that disrupt the shark’s ampullae of Lorenzini, causing it intense discomfort within a meter or two. It’s basically a shield.

You can keep it running at all times out on the water to alleviate the hundreds of thousands of years of evolution that whispers in your ear to avoid predators at all costs. Or you can flick it on when you hook something to ensure that the whole fish reaches your boat intact.

Sharks aren’t actually evil, in the sense that the concepts of good and evil are invented by humans. But they will bite your leg off without thinking twice. And they don’t even taste that good. Sharks, that is. Sharks don’t taste that good. They’re not the most fulfilling catch in open water. As such, there’s maybe no greater satisfaction than sending these creatures into a harmless state of confusion. No harm, no foul. Legs intact.