MATLACHA, Fla. - A weekend fishing trip off Matlacha ended with a big catch: a shark, Mouth wide open, snout pointed up and, get a load of those razor-sharp pearly whites.
WINK News contacted several marine experts to find out exactly what type it is. They say it's definitely not a Great White. It's no surprise, there are sharks out there in the Gulf. But, it's not every day we see those jaws up-close and personal.
A friend of the angler baited us with this shot."We have Lemon Sharks, Bull Sharks, Reef Sharks, Sandbar Sharks and Spinner Sharks," Bruce Neill Executive Director of the Sanibel Sea School said.
One thing is for sure there are plenty of these big fish in our backyard, even a couple Great Whites. Neill estimates the shark in the picture is about 6-feet long. "Most sharks are kind of fragile," Neill said. "They die relatively easily. They need to have water moving over their gills so, if a fisherman catches a shark, they should try not to take it out of the water."
Neill said sharks often cruise right along the beach in the early morning. A WINK News viewer sent us video of that a few months back, off Bowman's Beach. Those rows of teeth may be intimidating, but Neill says there's no need to fear. Don't swim at sunrise or sunset, around people who are fishing or in areas where there's a steep drop-off.
"Many more people a year are killed by vending machines and toasters than by sharks," Neill said. "If you've been in the Gulf of Mexico, a shark has seen you. It went the other way. They're a lot more scared of humans than we are of sharks."
There's actually a website where you can track tagged sharks as they swim around the world and near Florida. you can find it at: http://www.ocearch.org/#SharkTracker