Flour Bluff quarterback Braden Sherron says the skills and thrills are similar, whether connecting with a receiver for a touchdown or hitting his mark while spearfishing.
Sherron’s reputation as a dual threat on the field as a passer and runner is matched by his prowess with both a speargun and a fishing rod. These exploits are well documented in creative YouTube videos, which he shoots and edits himself.
The videos show how he uses rod and reel to target monster alligator gar in the Nueces River and a variety of offshore species in the Gulf of Mexico.
While the Hornets’ junior quarterback was certified as an SSI scuba diver in 2015, he rarely uses scuba gear for spearfishing. He’s a free-diving snorkeler.
Many of Sherron’s underwater hunting adventures involves chasing fish in local waters. He spears mangrove or gray snapper along the Packery jetties and spears snapper, ling, jackfish, barracuda, mangroves, tripletail and kingfish that swim among the sharks at offshore rigs.
“I don’t know, I’ve probably speared a hundred or more fish so far,” said Sherron, who has rushed for 720 yards and thrown for 1,586 and combined for 31 touchdowns for the Hornets. “Not nearly as many as I’d like.”
For the local offshore trips, Sherron and his dad or friends usually use the family’s 18-foot Hewes skiff when calm seas allow.
But his biggest spearfishing adventure came last year with Spear Dat Charters out of Port Fourchon, La. He targeted wahoo about 70 miles offshore, where 300-foot depths plunge to 1,000 feet or more.
Wahoo are highly prized and popular offshore speedsters with sharp teeth, known for acrobatic surface leaps and iridescent displays of color when they’re threatened or excited. Most anglers troll for wahoo like they would for billfish.
But, again, Sherron free-dived for them, while holding his breath and keeping a close watch on hammerhead, silky and sandbar sharks. His biggest wahoo weighed about 40 pounds.
“I actually shot four, but the sharks took two of them,” Sherron said, adding that the excitement of spearing deep-water fish compares to connecting deep in the end zone.
Both are addicting, he said.
However, there is a major difference between facing a 200-pound outside linebacker and the looming threat of an 8-foot hammerhead shark. Though both may be after blood.
Flour Bluff coach Chris Steinbruck said he believes Sherron is as fearless in the pocket as he is swimming among sharks, though he cannot personally attest to his quarterback’s underwater performance.