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Shark challenge draws anglers from across the country

By Staff | Jun 26, 2011

“Shark Alert” flashed across the jumbotron and then scenes of a hammerhead shark being wrestled from the Gulf filled the rooftops of Cape Harbour, some 40 feet in the air.

It was all part of the “Are You Man Enough Shark Challenge?” signaling the kind of action that drew teams of anglers from across the country, and the state, to find out if they were, indeed, man enough.

But there was a softer side to the two-day tournament and festival, too, one that featured a wide variety of vendors and kid’s activities and live music.

Cape residents Patrick and Sandra Broderick took the opportunity not to see some crazy shark action, but instead to take their collie for a stroll and enjoy the day at Cape Harbour.

“I think the whole event was well done,” Sandra said. “We wanted to take the dog out, see some of the vendors and have some fun.”

The vendors were getting plenty of attention during the festival.

Shelly Casserman from F & S Sunglasses, of Fort Myers Beach, said the Shark Challenge seemed like a great chance to make some money.

“It sounded like a lot of fun so I decided to come out. Business has been really good,” Casserman said.

Teams of anglers set out early Saturday morning to try their hand at winning the top prize of $5,000.

Those teams came from as far away as Missouri and Pennsylvania, and their exploits on the water were captured with cell phone video cameras and then transmitted back to the Cape Harbour, where festival go-ers got the chance to check it out on the jumbotron.

The top five teams from Friday competed in sudden death on Sunday. Results were still pending as of this report.

But organizer Captain Jack Donlan said Saturday that the Shark Challenge, now in its fifth year, got off to a rousing, and safe, start.

“The Suzuki committee boat got everyone off to an orderly and safe start,” Donlan said. “Everyone had shark on their minds.”