A Word On Finshooting (If It's a Word)

Pursuing the toothy creatures that roam the high seas? Consider a good marine shotgun before casting off the bowlines.

Proper sportsmen pass the time between hunting seasons by fishing. But fishing, like everything else in life, can be dangerous, and that’s why you should pack a dependable firearm, where legal.

There were only 59 shark attacks in 2008, but this number does not reflect the many more incidents incurred as toothy fish were caught and boated. Last weekend while angling offshore, a 300-pound hammerhead circled our boat, no doubt hoping I’d fall out. Had we the fuel to troll around the horn of Africa to the Indian Ocean, our boat would’ve been at risk of being pirated. A couple days ago, a bull shark leapt into a Florida fisherman’s boat and began snapping and flailing before high-jacking the back of the boat. Luckily no one was hurt as the fishermen screamed and ran helplessly to the front of the boat.

I don’t encourage shooting any fish or pirates unless they are trying to kill you, but the point is you never know what might happen on the open water, and therefore you must be prepared. And nothing signifies the two-fingers of a boy scout like a marine shotgun. Mossberg, Remington, and Charles Daly  all make good ones.

"Marine" implies that the gun is finished in nickel or stainless steel to fight corrosive saltwater. Don’t be fooled into buying a stockless, pistol-gripped gun because you saw one in a gangster movie. Pistol grip shotguns are good for three things: storage, gangster movies and shooting a hole in your boat due to lack of muzzle control. Buy a full- or folding-stock shotgun, and consider a 20-gauge. A pump action is best for boat defense because it requires less cleaning to function. If Federal made a load with sharkshot, I’d stoke my shotgun with it, but No. 4s will quickly soothe any seafaring flare-up.

Before a bit of finshooting on the high seas, remember that firing a gun in a boat can be more dangerous than the threat itself, so make sure you have solid footing, and make sure your backstop is water or open air and not your boat.

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