It might not have been an Olympic gold medal dive, but it was one Capt. Mike Tokheim will not soon forget.
Shark Week wrapped up Saturday in grand fashion, with Tokheim tangling with a 256-pound mako shark that leapt into the boat and decided to wreak havoc before it just gave up the ghost.
Tokheim along with boat owner Roger Brown and friends left out of Orange Beach Friday night aboard the 42-foot Viking tagged O Fish L Business and were on the hunt for tuna, wahoo and dolphin. They were fishing about 130 miles from Destin between the oil rigs.
Saturday morning, Tokheim said he was first up and decided to toss a bait out at about 5 a.m.
It didn't take long before something struck the threadfin herring he dropped down.
"I got a bite and it wasn't a tuna," he said. "It was like dead weight. I didn't wake anybody up. I just sat there for a minute."
Then all of a sudden a mako shark skyrocketed out of the water.
"It jumped about 30 feet in the air … turning somersaults and twisting all at the same time. It looked like Greg Louganis doing a dive."
As soon as he hit the water, he jumped again in a different spot twisting and turning.
The third jump finished in the wrong spot.
"I was looking at this creature coming at me," Tokheim said.
The shark had jumped into the boat.
"I was standing on the starboard side of the cockpit," Tokheim said. "It had to have come just inches from me. I moved over just enough.”
The shark did, however, rearrange the deck of the boat
Tokheim said the shark hit the rod and reels and bit the gaff.
"He started biting the boat," he said, noting the shark did hundreds of dollars in damage to the new vessel.
"He went crazy thrashing around. He was flipping around … 4 to 5 feet in the air," he said. "He was angry. It was a mess.”
Needless to say all the commotion woke the rest of the crew up.
"It made such a racket, they came running up," Tokheim said. "They thought the boat was crashing or hit something."
With help from the crew, they managed to tail rope the shark and tie it off to one of the cleats on the boat.
"He finally just died about 30 minutes later, after throwing a tantrum," Tokheim said.
After the shark mayhem, the crew was able to fish for what they came for — tuna.
The captain said they caught about three yellowfin tuna and some blackfin tuna.
They arrived back in Destin Sunday and weighed the shark at HarborWalk Marina, where it tilted the scales at 256 pounds and drew a crowd of gawkers.
Tokeheim said he's never really been one to watch Shark Week, however he did say he may pay a little more attention next year.