In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column. NOTE: This is Carrie's column from last Thursday, when I was on vacation and unavailable to publish it:
Question: I bought a former scuba kayak and have retrofitted it into a fishing kayak. I transformed the underside into what appears to be the underside of a killer whale (orca) because I figure if I’m going to be spending lots of idle time fishing, I don’t want, in any way, to attract the attention of great whites! The underside was totally white but now the outer edges are black with a small black patch at the rear so that it looks just like the characteristic underside of a killer whale. I also rigged up my two fins to drag out the back in case I ever found myself in dire need.
My reasoning here is killer whales and great whites are natural enemies, so if I paint the bottom like an orca, any great white within several hundred yards will take off. As I thought more about this aspect though, I now wonder if while I’m sitting in this thing for long periods of time, will I be more apt to be a target rather than a threat? Has there been any evidence of great whites attacking dead killer whales just like they attack dead regular whales? I’m wondering now if I am a soon-to-be "dead duck" instead of a brilliant kayak engineer! Please advise. Thanks. (Mark)
Answer: Well, I can safely say I’ve never gotten a letter and questions quite like yours, but it’s a refreshing change from the many regulation questions! I applaud your kayak engineering prowess. However, I’m not sure painting the hull of your kayak to resemble the underbelly of an orca, along with attaching fins that mysteriously drag out the back, will spook a white shark or prevent an attack.