Shark’s Tale: Teeth Were All He Saw

While another Shark Week (2015) is in the books, I ran across an article printed in the Tampa Tribune from September 1978. A long-time family friend re-counted a time in Tampa Bay where my Dad and I battled a 9 ft. Bull Shark. While you may think both the friend and the writer of the article embellished a tad, you’d be wrong. This is exactly how it happened, his wallet didn’t get wet……………….


Shark’s Tale: Teeth Were All He Saw
Herb Allen
Hook, Lyin’ & Sinker

Tampa Attorney Arthur Eggers passes along a “fish story” concerning his close friend, Gussie Kushmer of Gibsonton.

Gussie, a “fishhold” name in the Gibsonton-Ruskin area, nearly met his match recently in Tampa Bay.

Fortunately, Gussie was fishing in his small boat with his son, Dan, who is a weightlifter.

Seems the pair hooked and fought a large shark which, after a lengthy tussle, was brought along side their craft.

Gussie leaned over the side with the intention of dispatching the menacing predator with a club.

He took a swing and missed, lost his balance and fell overboard, landing directly on the maddened shark.

Both Gussie and his 15-year old son maintained their “cool”.

The elder Kushmer dived as deep and as fast as he could without scuba gear while his son held the rod high in an effort to keep the shark’s head up.

When daddy Kushmer surfaced, he picked the wrong spot.

His head popped up right in front of the shark’s huge jaws.

“All I could see was teeth, teeth and more teeth,” he said later, recalling the incident.

Gussie then did his Johnny Weissmuller-Mark Spitz imitation, swimming toward the stern of the boat with blinding speed, with the monster in hot pursuit.

As he neared the aft section of the boat, his iron-pumping son, with a rod in one hand, grabbed his 225 pound dad by the belt and swung him into the boat in one smooth, but ungentle motion.

The pair then boated the shark which was later measured at nine feet and scaling in excess of 400 pounds.

While time may have seemed to stand still for Gussie, things actually moved so swiftly that his wallet didn’t even get wet.



Here are photos of the submission to Mr. Allen and the actual article.

Submission Letter Page 1








Submission Letter Page 2








September 1978 Article

September 1978 Article










Danny Kushmer

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2 Responses to Shark’s Tale: Teeth Were All He Saw

  1. Valerie says:

    This is great! Herb was my grandfather. Love reading the article and seeing the pictures of the original submission.

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