An Ohio fisherman set out after bass on Friday morning, but instead came home with an unexpected trophy: a bull shark measuring nearly three feet in length.
John Bays of Manchester discovered the fish at Island Creek campground, The Ledger Independent notes. While at the Manchester boat launch, he happened upon the shark, which he found floating dead along the shoreline. The animal measured 2 feet, 9 inches long, and appeared to have been fatally wounded by a boat prop.
“There are a lot of bait fish called skip-jack, they are the ones that look shiny, like sardines, in the river. That is why the bass are here, and I guess that is why the shark may have been here, following the food,” Bays claimed. “My guess is that it has been dead a day or so.”
Manchester police chief Jeff Bowling was surprised by Bays’ catch, at first doubting that it was actually a shark.
“I was skeptical when they said he had a shark, but it sure is a shark,” Bowling related.
Shallow water predators, bull sharks are unusual in their tolerance for fresh water. They are among the four species of shark that are most likely to attack humans, along with tigers, whitetips, and great whites.
While it seems unlikely that bull sharks would inhabit the Ohio River, it isn’t the first time they have been discovered there. In 2010, a commercial fisherman in Olmsted, Illinois found a two-foot-long bull shark washed up on a boat ramp, according to KFVS. Conservation officials acknowledged that it was rare to find a shark so far north along the river.
In early August, a bull shark was filmed facing off against a giant crocodile in Australia. Though the end of the confrontation wasn’t filmed, the video made international headlines. The crocodile, nicknamed “Brutus,” was widely believed to have won.
Although another fisherman asked Bays if he could preserve the bull shark, wildlife officials are interested in examining it.
“Ohio Department of Natural Resources asked me to put it on ice and they are coming to get it this afternoon,” Bays acknowledged. “I am curious to see what they find out about it. If it has been here long; it is possible it is about a year old, that means there are others.”
According to Bowling, there have been no other bull shark sightings reported in that area of the Ohio river.
[Image via The Ledger Independent]