Shark in Boston Harbor

Enjoy this account of an amazing catch just outside Boston Harbor  by Capt. Van Christie of Karavi Charters ~KB

Strange Catch in Boston Harbor

I was out alone, fishing for fun on a nice, calm Saturday August morning about 2 miles out of Boston Harbor. I was trolling live mackerel for striped bass, but I kept getting cut off by pesky bluefish so I switched to a tandem rig with wire on the trailer hook. A while later, I saw some bait flipping out of the water off my stern, and then seconds later I heard the drag scream on my little Shimano conventional.

I threw the boat into neutral and pulled the rod from the holder. I thought I might have foul hooked a dogfish as I saw something resembling that color when it came to the top.  It only took a few seconds to realize that was not what I had as this fish sounded so fast I could hear the 30-pound-test line cutting through the water. I fought the fish for 15 minutes not knowing what I had caught, then it came to the top and I saw this huge swishing tail. At that moment I knew what I had, but I couldn’t believe it!

Fighting Boston Harbor Shark
The author battles a thresher shark on striped bass tackle.

I called my friends on the radio to tell them I had something big that I could not get in.  They made their way over and my buddy came aboard. I immediately handed him the rod and sat down. Soon, another buddy came by in their boat and he came aboard as well.  The rod was then handed to him. The three of us switched off, trying to bring this fish in.  After another 45 minutes of this tag team battle, we got the fish alongside and put two gaffs into it. It was a full hour of battling this awesome fish.

Joe Fights Boston Thresher Shark
A friend hopped on board to help battle the shark. It took about an hour to bring the big thresher boatside.

I’ve been fishing Boston Harbor for over 30 years, and I could not believe this fish was in these inshore waters – and that my gear, knots, and crimps held up during that fight. The rod was a custom trolling rod made by a good friend, the reel was a Shimano Star spooled with Berkley Big Game mono and a short leader of Hi-Seas Quattro 80-pound with a 6-inch steel leader. I only started chartering this year, but I still fish for myself most of the time. I do have a federal HMS angling/charter boat permit, so the catch was not in violation of any regulations.

Boston Harbor Shark in Boat
The author poses with his incredible catch: a thresher shark on striper gear just outside Boston Harbor.

We bled the thresher in the water, as there was no way I was allowing it into my 21-footer alive and kicking. Once we were sure it had expired, we tail roped it and hauled it over the rail. My two buddies and I were happy to pose for a few more pictures of this insane catch.  None of this great fish was wasted, I gave delicious steaks out to my friends, family and co-workers.


Capt. Van Christie

Karavi Charters

Quincy, Massachusetts




3 on “Shark in Boston Harbor

  1. Torrey Browne

    Unbelievable!!!! Well done!!! I have never seen a thresher shark but that fish looks like one heck of a beast. That must have been a blast to catch. Well done.

  2. Robert miczke

    I assume being predators come into the inner harbor a lot has anyone seen one around the islands or even inner harbor?

  3. Lisa

    I was outraged when I saw this on the news. To sit there and gloat over taking this fishes life.. Nice job.

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