Uncommonly Coastal

The Shark Whisperer: Daring to Live His Dream

“Follow your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

 The Shark Whisperer took these words to heart.

When you meet someone who is truly living their dream, you’ll know it immediately. They are full of joy and boundless energy. Their enthusiasm is contagious. And – they are committed to providing top-notch service. 

SO COOL

One such passionate person is Reese “Chip” Michalove, aka “The Shark Whisperer.” He owns and operates Outcast Fishing in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Seasoned Captain Chip has piloted these premier fishing charters for nearly 20 years.

He fell in love with fishing when he was taken on a charter at the age of 5. Captain Fuzzy Davis, who Chip now lovingly calls the “godfather of fishing,” was the guide for this outing with his father.  

Looking back, Captain Michalove admits he was petrified that day. However, afterwards, he thought it was the “coolest thing in the world.” He went back home to Kentucky and posted signs advertising himself as a “fishing guide for hire.”

Now, decades later, both fishing guides praise each other for their careers and accomplishments. Captain Davis reflects on 5-year-old Chip’s experience and laughs. “It’s so funny to think of now that he’s almost putting his hand down the throats of these sharks.  It’s like nothing anyone else would do.” 

LIVING THE DREAM

In fact, running a successful fishing charter is Captain Chip’s dream come true.  From that very first fishing excursion, it was the path he wanted to follow. So, he moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina and purchased his first boat at age 22. Outcast Fishing has provided unparalleled fishing adventures every year since.

Although the competition in that coastal area is fierce, Captain Chip’s experience and reputation are unmatched.

HOOKED ON FISHING

Because Captain Chip prides himself on his level of integrity, professionalism, and knowledge, his reviews are outstanding.  “This guy is the best in the business,” claimed a recent father who brought his sons. “My boys will be forever hooked on the sport!”

Another satisfied fisherman said, “Forget golf. Spend a few hours and catch an amazing shark.” And from a girls’ trip: “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the coolest!” We will definitely be returning!”

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM

Finally, a local resident wanted to share his experience. “I have done two other local charters and got nothing. I was bringing something in within about 15 minutes with Chip!”

DREAM COME TRUE

Truly, success is not just measured by accolades or by financial gain.  It’s found every day in the joy of doing what you love and sharing that joy with others.  The look of exhilaration of the faces of his clients says it all. 

“I love my job.  It’s a dream come true,” the Shark Whisperer states. He has customers driving 10-15 hours to get there, so he doesn’t want them walking away thinking that the outing was “pretty fun.”  “I want them texting me the next week saying that they can’t stop talking about it!”

In fact, in his first few seasons as a guide, he would guarantee an 8-foot shark on all his shark charters or the trip would be free! For three years, he never had to issue a refund. Even though the chances of getting “skunked” are extremely slim, he has discontinued the guarantee – only because he was finding himself too nervous “waiting for that monster to swim by on slower days.”

SLOWER DAYS??

From June through August each year is mayhem for Outcast Charters. He takes out 2 charters a day and says this keeps him going as hard as his body can go. “You have to make hay when the sun shines,” he notes.

In the summers, it is common for him to take fathers and sons or entire families out to sea. Remembering his own childhood experience, he particularly loves exposing the young ones to a new and thrilling sport. He obviously has a lifetime of enjoyment and knowledge to share with them. 

HARD-CORE FISHERMEN

Then, in the fall, there are the men who make the trip just to fish – the hard-core fishermen: Focused, dedicated, and enthusiastic. 

                             

                  

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Thankfully, repeat customers are the foundation of his business. Fishing first-timers keep it fun as these beginners have no idea how hard these sharks can pull. However, like most businesses, they cannot survive without repeat customers.  Their return speaks volumes about the quality of service provided, the Shark Whisperer’s expertise, and the unforgettable experiences they’ve had on previous trips to the Low Country. Many of these seasoned anglers have become lifelong friends. For Chip, it is not about simply securing bookings. It is all about cultivating lasting relationships with those who share his passion.

BEST BOAT, BEST BOAT, BEST BOAT

A large part of his success is based on “The Outcast,” Captain Michalove’s 27 ft. Glacier Bay Catamaran.  In his opinion, it’s the softest riding boat in the industry.

To start with, this is one of the top built boats in the world and his is extremely well maintained for safety.  Once he knew that being a fishing guide was his future, he took his time researching for the perfect boat. He wanted one that would cater to himself and his customers in terms of comfort and needs. “Safety, stability, comfort, and fish-ability were my main objectives.”

Because the catamaran has twin hulls that cut through the waves, slapping and pounding that traditional V-hulls produce is eliminated. The deck layout was designed for the angler, “giving much-needed space to fight the giants and making it easy to chase any monsters, if needed.”

Also, the boat is amazingly quiet and smoke free. In Captain Chip’s words, it is “a tournament-ready fishing machine with numerous tournament wins and fishing records. The Glacier Bay Catamaran is unquestionably the best boat I’ve ever fished in.”  Now that’s an endorsement!

BRAGGING RIGHTS

Beyond his passion and expertise, there’s another reason Captain Chip’s charters are so thrilling. Catching Tarpon, Redfish, Cobia, Barracuda, King Mackerel… “If it swims, we catch it,” he boldly boasts.

Currently, there is strong interest in sharks – especially in coastal regions. The attacks are in the news daily causing great fascination with the most dangerous fish in the area. In fact, many of his clients get more excited over battling a 10-foot hammerhead shark than a handful of other species. “And when they come back the next season, they just want to target sharks!”

BROKEN RECORD

While he has broken and holds numerous records, he has adapted his focus through the process. For example, when he caught the record Lemon Shark, he hauled it to Charleston to get an official weight. As the biologists were taking samples and doing a necropsy, he inquired about the approximate age of the shark. 

He was told that this one was about 35 years old, and at that time, he was the same age. “It froze me.  I’ll never kill an old shark again.”  He added, “It’s a waste, just to get your name in the record books. It’s ego. I’ve never killed another Tiger, Bull, Lemon, or Hammerhead since.”

The sharks that are caught are tagged and released healthy back into the open waters.  

THE SHARK WHISPERER

In fact, Captain Chip has caught, tagged, and released almost 100 great whites for the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a regional organization that is leading white shark research. 

He’s appeared on National Geographic and The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. Documentaries highlight his genuine passion and unmatched success – and many wonder how he does it. In reality, it’s more than a nickname. He is the Shark Whisperer.

It is important to note that Captain Chip still has a lofty goal ahead of him. “I want to catch an 18+ foot great white. That would be the largest one ever caught on a rod and reel.” Determined, he adds, “It’s coming.”

A SPECIAL TRIP

Finally, I asked if there were any remarkable or amusing stories that he could share. He chuckled as he thought about it and said that there was not enough time to talk about the maniacs he’s chartered through the years. However, he did share the story of this special outing with me…

It was the 3 am charter that changed everything.  We left when it was a ridiculously cold and dark middle-of -the-night January outing.  Not easy. Icy deck, cold and tight muscles, tired and loopy brains.

We headed to a new spot. Travelling at night in the winter and hitting a whale is my all-time fear. Winter fishing off SC is as raw as it gets. There’s no one on the water and so much is unknown this time of year out there. In the summer, you can’t go anywhere without seeing more boats than fish sometimes. In the winter, you’re lucky to see any life, human or fish.

UNBELIEVABLE!

We arrived frozen, nervous, and sleep deprived. By 7 am we had seen a 7-foot one cruise by. Hooked, captured, and tagged.

We cheered in celebration because this new spot produced – and quickly.  Every 45 mins after the first release we had another one a little larger, and 3o minutes later, another even larger. Each shark got bigger. We averaged a hook every 45 mins all day. We were stunned.  It was like a conveyor belt.

SWIMMING WITH SHARKS

I was ecstatic, they were exhausted, and Taylor was swimming around the boat like a dolphin (the first photographer to swim with one without a cage in the Atlantic!)

SO WORTH IT

Somehow, I convinced them to stay 20 more minutes. And the largest one of the day shows up, a 15+ footer! The shark takes the bait and puts on an aerial show. We landed the huge male. The gamble paid off; the drive was worth it – grand slam. The last one was the largest male ever tagged in the Atlantic.

I have returned to that same spot many times – unable to duplicate that early morning outing. I have studied the weather and water temps like a maniac, but I have no idea how we struck gold that day. Even with today’s technology, it’s crazy to think that the damn ocean is so tough to crack.

Only God knows what brought all those sharks to that area, but on a miserably cold January 17th day, we were in heaven.  We celebrated with dinner like we had won the lottery, and looking back, we did.

HE’S THE REAL DEAL

When you meet someone with such a sense of gratitude and fulfillment, you know they are fortunate and are truly living their dream. It is inspiring to others and a joy to behold. 

The Shark Whisperer is living his dream. His exciting charters provide the potential of a once-in-a-lifetime catch and guarantee unforgettable moments on the stunning coastal waters of South Carolina.

Outcast Fishing, the finest charter business in Hilton Head, is a reminder that with passion, perseverance, and courage, anything is possible.  The Shark Whisperer is a perfect example.

25 Responses

  1. The story of Reese “Chip” Michalove, the Shark Whisperer is really cool, especially how he’s released nearly a hundred white sharks to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. Nice to know he’s doing his part to protect sharks!

  2. This is such a cool and inspiring story to read. It’s amazing what he is doing and how he just followed what he really found joy in!

  3. Wow! What an amazing man, living his best life! Sharks absolutely terrify me, but Captain Chip makes it sound so fun & memorable! It’s refreshing to hear of someone getting so much joy from their job! This story has inspired me to look at fishing in a different light!

  4. A True Shark Hunter would love to try once Ice cold Beer ….Shark Steak is Awesome Captain Chip Job well done. See you soon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates

Recent Posts:

[month_wise_posts_accordion]