Skip to main content

VIDEO: Surf's up

Mike Tokheim is a charter captain out of Destin, Fla., who makes his living putting customers where the fish are, but there’s always time for a little fun.

Tokheim recently took O'Fish'L Business, a Viking 42 he captains, out for a routine safety check.

After catching a few flounder, Tokheim's teenage son, Zachary, did some wakesurfing. Wakesurfing is similar to wakeboarding, but the surfer is not attached to the board and drops the tow line to ride the boat’s wake.

"Living on the Gulf Coast, there is not much surf to quench my thirst," Zach says. "My father is the captain of the boat and had to do some test runs to make sure everything was running good, so I jumped at the opportunity to ride along with a few boards. It was a fun time and we are definitely going to do it again!"

Tokheim had a far less relaxing outing last summer when a mako jumped aboard the boat.

The group was fishing for tuna, wahoo and dolphin about 130 miles off Destin. About 5 a.m., with the rest of the group sleeping, Tokheim tossed a line out. It wasn’t long before something struck the threadfin herring.

"I got a bite, and it wasn't a tuna," he told The Destin Log. "It was like dead weight. I didn't wake anybody up. I just sat there for a minute."

All of a sudden, a mako leaped out of the water.

"It jumped about 30 feet in the air … turning somersaults and twisting all at the same time."

It jumped again and then a third time. The last jump, however, finished in the cockpit.

"I was looking at this creature coming at me," Tokheim said. “It had to have come just inches from me.”

Tokheim said the shark hit the rod and reels and bit the gaff. "He went crazy, thrashing around. He was flipping around … 4 to 5 feet in the air. He was angry. It was a mess.”

With help from the crew, awakened by the commotion, they managed to tail-rope the shark and tie it off to one of the boat’s cleats.

— Rich Armstrong