Skip to main content
C.J. Wickersham has been an avid fisherman since he was 4 years old.
Courtesy photo
Longboat Key Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 4 years ago

Rescue reenactment airs on 'Trip Gone Bad'

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Doctors told the NBC network’s “Today Show” they lost count after Charles “C.J.” Wickersham’s first 100 stitches.

The Longboat Key native was spearfishing Sept. 24, 2011, near Rod & Reel Pier off of Anna Maria, when he looked down and saw a 9-foot bull shark on his leg.

His friends, Connor Bystrom and Max Gazzo, jumped into the water and pulled him back onto the boat while Bystrom applied pressure to stop the bleeding until paramedics arrived.

Wickersham was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where doctors managed to salvage his muscle.

Nearly two years later, Wickersham, 23, says he’s completely healed and is back to fishing.

His shark attack is the subject of a reenactment that aired Friday, Aug. 9, on the Outdoor Channel’s “Trip Gone Bad,” as part of Shark Week programming.

The process of recreating the attack began approximately one year ago, when the Outdoor Channel flew Wickersham, his father, Charles Wickersham, and Bystrom to Los Angeles for interviews.

They shot the reenactment over a day in November in Crystal River, where the program was also filming other segments. Wickersham and four of the six friends who were on the boat that day participated in the reenactment.

(Bystrom and his girlfriend, Katie Mattas, couldn’t participate in filming because of Bystrom’s veterinary school schedule.)

Wickersham said the Outdoor Channel account is “pretty accurate.”

It doesn’t bother him to relive the attack. In fact, he hosted approximately 20 friends Friday night at his home, including the group that was with him on the boat, to watch the segment’s premier. There was also a viewing party Friday at Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant

“It’s pretty crazy to see, especially during Shark Week,” Wickersham said.

Related Stories