• August 14Look for pictures from the 2016-17 school year on the MSHS Yearbook Facebook page.

Jefferson Eyke
Most people visit Florida for the amusement parks or to enjoy the water. In a way, that’s why senior Jefferson “Jack” Eyke visits Florida. But for Eyke, it’s not the water itself that’s fun, it’s the things that live in it. Eyke visited Florida twice this year, once as a family vacation and later to visit his grandparents. Both times, he spent a fair portion of time at the beach, looking for his favorite animals. “We rented a beach house and spent a lot of time at the beach,” Eyke said. “I went paddleboarding a lot and would go into the shallower water to catch Nurse Sharks. Towards the end of the trip, we went out on a fishing boat to fish for bigger sharks.” Most people spend their time fishing for things they can eat, but not Eyke. He spent his time catching animals that most regard as the apex predators of the sea. Or at least, the cousins of those predators. “Nurse Sharks are a relatively docile species of shark,” Eyke said. “They’re not your stereotypical type of shark. They’re pretty slow and dull, and unlike other sharks, they can lay on the bottom of the seafloor.” There are a great variety of ways to fish. Most people think of those old, bearded men who sit on the docks and wait for a bite. Eyke prefers a more hands-on approach to fishing. “I’d be paddleboarding and have a bird’s eye view of the water around me - it was very clear - so I’d see them and hop off my paddleboard and run after them,” Eyke said. “I’d sprint after them and throw the net out. I’d try to throw the net in front of them so they’d swim into the net.” So what does one do with a Shark once he has caught it? He could keep it, of course, but that wasn’t Eyke’s goal when he leapt into the water to catch himself a shark. “I’d hoist them out and just look at them for a little bit, and then let them go,” Eyke said. “The largest one I caught was probably like two, two and a half feet maybe.” However, Eyke wasn’t just fishing for little Nurse Sharks, which can actually grow to 10 feet. He also fished out a little deeper, searching for larger predators to turn into prey. “My favorite memory was fishing in an inland intracoastal, this little saltwater river,” Eyke said. “I kayaked to a sandbar and tossed out a hunk of fish. I waited for three hours on the sandbar and watched the tide come in. I wanted to catch a shark, so I kept waiting. The tide started going out, and it was getting dark - it was very dramatic - when I got one. I tried to reel it in, but it cut through the line and got away.” Whether he ever catches the big one or not, Eyke will always have his passion for sharks.   “Sharks are some of my favorite animals,” Eyke said. “They fascinate me; they always have. (I am interested in) the way they’re highly adapted to their surroundings. They’ve been on this Earth for millions of years and been able to survive. I like to call them triumphs of evolution.”

Jack Eyke, Entertainment Editor

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