Today we continue our discussion of sharks along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Sunday, we discussed the decline in shark populations and published a list of the sharks that are not to be retained along with the conservative size and bag limits for sharks that are legal to keep.
During the warm months, when the nearshore Gulf waters are above 75 degrees, we have a good number of sharks that are attracted in close to the beachfront. While most are not aggressive, there remains the danger of getting caught in one of their feeding frenzies while attacking schools of bait fish.
There has not been a fatal shark attack in many decades around Galveston; however, almost each year there are reports of someone getting bitten by a feeding shark. Experienced wade fishermen and surfers know how to avoid this, and there are three key factors they are aware of that help them avoid problems.
First, stay away from schools of mullet and other bait that tend to stack up in the surf. Sharks and other predator fish make vicious and quick attacks on the schools when in a feeding mode. Mullet especially are easy to spot as they will be jumping or swimming in concentrations with the waves.
Second, if you have an open wound, stay out of the water, especially water more than 3 feet in depth. Sharks especially have a keen smell for blood, and they assume it is coming from an injured fish that would be easy prey.
Third, experienced wade fishermen use extra long stringers while wade fishing (both the bays and surf), as the stringers are frequently attacked, and if too close to your leg, it could be mistaken for one of the fish. A large number of reported shark bites occur this way.
In concluding this series on sharks, I want to point out that lightning is much more of a threat to swimmers than sharks.
Editor’s note: This Reel Report originally ran June 18, 2018.