Chumming Sharks on the USS Guam

Edited by Martha Jette

Story by David Labrum

In the early 80’s, I was stationed aboard the USS Guam (LPH-9). This was an amphibious assault ship built in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1962. Named after the Battle of Guam, the ship was commission in January 1965.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

It was also considered an Iwo Jima-class ship that was built and designed with the capacity to operate up to 20 helicopters, which could carry up to 1,800 marines to shore. The LPH in its title stood for Landing Platform, Helicopter.

The standard practice at that time was to anchor off the coast at Moorhead City in North Carolina to onload the Marines and all of their gear before getting underway for a cruise. It was common for a few sailors to fish off the fan tail. In ‘nautical terms,’ a fan tail is the part of the ship that is furthest aft of its main deck and is where sailors can congregate to relax and talk. It has also been referred to as the ‘back porch.’

Anyway in order to do some fishing, the sailors needed to muster up whatever chow they could find from the mess deck so they could use it as bait. On one occasion, we sailed into a school of sharks and decided that they would serve the purpose.

Of course, we had to gut them on the deck and throw the pieces overboard. These attracted even more sharks that were ready and willing to bite. This event would not have been noteworthy except for the fact that the ship was a flat-bottomed Amphib.

We were just a few hundred yards off the beach, so we could see people swimming and sunning themselves on the shore. It also became quite obvious that they could see what we were doing too!

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To see pictures of this, go to:;_ylt=AwrTcdWVnvJSKXwAkNAPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTBsOXB2YTRjBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkAw–?_adv_prop=image&fr=yhs-newnet-looksafe_ds_trans&va=shark+fishing+on+the+USS+Guam&hspart=newnet&hsimp=yhs-looksafe_ds_trans

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9 responses to “Chumming Sharks on the USS Guam

  1. Wow I was there…. Tom Best, we got roast beef from the mess ,a bag of blood from the corp men and I made the hook in my shop I was in ( R) div. welder, I remember we heard shit for this one because there were divers around our ships conducting war simulations,planting explosives under our ship.We used the hoist to pull the shark onboard,That thing was about 6ft. We tried taking out the teeth in 1 piece but screwed it up and just got loose teeth… what a blast from the past, thanks for the memories Ms, Guam I miss you R.I.P…..

    • Awesome Tom.
      The Hook Was Huge! I Remeber That Day Well, It Was A Lot Of Fun! I Thought The Jaw Of That Big Shark Was The One The BoatsWains Put On A Plaque, And Surrounded With Rope And Hung On The Quarter Deck Though? Must Have Been Another Trip. Did You Get In On Any Fishing For The Big Catfish Off The Barge When we Were In Philly?

    • That Shark Was Huge!

  2. Cool! Are you talking about *human* blood? lol

  3. Aww, man! Don’t worry, the statute of limitations runs out really quick for anything done aboard a Navy ship! lol

  4. It’s kind of extra gruesome because it’s human blood, Jehova’s witnesses would read you the riot act, probably rightly so! LOL. I worked for a blood bank, and one morning I looked in the lab at all the bags of blood going through testing and packaging, hanging by the dozens, with blood running down all the tubes…and I got dizzy. It’s the first time the sight of blood gave me that feeling, and I’ve seen quite a bit. Anyway…good sea story! Were they blue sharks? Any edible maco?

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