Skip to comments.Bull sharks take to Louisiana swamp
Posted on 07/03/2009 7:16:32 AM PDT by Rebelbase
HENDERSON, LA (WAFB) - Bass, catfish, and perch make for a great fish fry down on the bayou, but lately, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has found sharks in inland waters of the Atchafalaya Basin Swamp.
Most people have a preconceived notion that sharks are found in the ocean. While that's certainly true, sharks are also being found among the beautiful cypress trees in the waters of the Atchafalaya. "Well, I guess this is a swamp, shark that lives in the swamp," said Mike Walker with Wildlife and Fisheries. "You could call it a swamp shark."
Walker has pictures of bull sharks that were caught among the inland waters in Louisiana. He says sharks have likely been around these parts for decades. However, they're noticing them more because they now take huge samples of species in different waterways in Louisiana and that's turning up sharks. It's no surprise for long time Atchafalaya swamp tour guide Curtis Allemond. "Oh, I used to catch em up on the river when the river's low, yeah (laughs)," he said when asked if he had ever seen any sharks in the swamp.
The bull shark is particularly troubling for Walker, in part due to their natural threatening nature. "They're fairly aggressive sharks. They're probably responsible for the majority of the attacks on human beings." Walker says there are no known inland shark attacks in Louisiana. The bull sharks are not just hanging around the bayous and swamps. They have been caught some 900 miles up the Mississippi River.
"They have been captured in St. Louis. They have traveled 2500 miles up the Amazon. They have some mechanism in their make-up that allows them to process freshwater and not require high salinity to live." It may seem hard to believe that in the deep swamp of Louisiana bull sharks, one of the most dangerous species of shark, are swimming in the swamp.
And they are man-eaters!
Yes...they are the most dangerous shark to man.
Bull sharks are remarkably tolerant of fresh water, and are found in Lake Nicaragua, up various rivers, the Chesapeake Bay, etc...
Watch the program called “River Monsters” on bull sharks, they provided significant evidence that they can breed in fresh water as well.
In Australia there is a river which is blocked by a relatively low dam. Back in the 80’s (I believe) it went underwater from massive floods. Well now there are bull sharks both large and small living above the dam. The small sharks pretty much had to have been born in fresh water.
IIRC, one was even caught in Lake Michigan (which would mean it would have entered via the Mississippi River to Illinois River and then through the locks).
Peter Capstick in “Man Eaters” wrote of a similar situation in Central America.
Personally, I'd love to get a few steaks from one of those.
Bet they taste better than Sea Shark.
So was my last girlfriend.
Not too long ago, I saw three bull sharks smoking cigarettes near the payphone of a Qwik-Trip, harassing any pretty lady who happened to walk by.
From wiki: “.Bull sharks have occasionally been seen in the Mississippi River as far north as St. Louis. Even more rare, due to cooler waters, bull sharks have made their way up the Illinois River and into Lake Michigan such as an encounter off the coast of Chicago, Illinois. In that incident the shark was verified by U. of Illinois biologists as being a female 6 feet 9 inches and weighing over 300 lbs.”
Here’s a story I recall from a fishing message board a few years back from a NC/VA surf fishing guru.
“Shark Feeding Frenzy on Vera Cruz
I fished Vera Cruz bar sat,sun,mon. did pretty good caught 2 yearling drum Sat.,3 more Sun,& 10 Mon. & quite a few 3-4# bluefish mixed in.The real fish story was Monday when Sharks up to 6 came up on the bar in a 2 foot of water chasing all the finger mullett.The first one ran right into one of my rod holders!I backed up about 50 into more shallow water,about that time I got a hit on one of my light tackle shrimp rigs.The drum took me about 100 foot down the bar.I looked back at my rodholders & one was shaking violently so I figured I had another fish on another line(I fish 5 rods at a time)Anyway after a few minutes I landed the puppy I had & released it as I already had one on the stringer.Walked back to my rod holders & the drum on the stringer was gone & 2 bluefish were bit off up to the head!The Damn sharks stole my drum!About that time I hooked another drum on light tackle,as I was going down the bar out of the corner of my eye I saw a 5 footer go by right behind me!After I regained my poise I rushed out to my 2 holders,loosened all the drags & retreated about 100 yards!While I was backing up a 6 footer came right at me in 1 1/2 of water,got within 2 foot & turned & went off the bar.By that time I was hightailing it to ankle deep water.For about a 1/2 hour sharks up to 6 crossed the bar chasing the finger mullet.There was acres of mullett out there.I saw at least 10 sharks,whether it was 10 or 3 Im not sure.Finally they left,after about another 1/2 hour I moved back to my original spot & caught a 1/2 dozen or more drum.Needless to say it was quite an experiance!I have fished out on Vera Cruz bar for 15 years & its the first time I have ever seen sharks of that size up on the bar in a feeding frenzy,they were darting all about! I dont believe they even knew I was up there.I think they were bull sharks as I used to catch and tag sharks a few years back...Leroy Oniel was right,Dont ever tye your stringer to your body !!”
Back in the 80’s they caught a 12’ Bullshark in the Bush river in the Northern Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
Never had bull but makos not bad - forget about blues they are supposed to be as bad as false albacores.....
Where’s Jerry Reed when you really need him?
They were often denizens of the cenotes in the amazon basin, and ate the human sacrifices that were thrown in. There’s an exhibit of them in a cenote environment at the Dallas World Aquarium.
I have a scary personal bull shark story. It sounds contrived, but I would swear to it in a court.
I grew up in South FL snorkeling at age 5 and diving at 12. We would be on the boat almost every weekend in summer.
I never saw many sharks (a couple of huge lemons and tigers), except nurse sharks until the last 10 years.
About 5 years ago I took my dad’s girlfriend and my wife to Louie Key (great reef) on his boat while he watch my 1 year old. The wife was afraid of sharks.
Louie has relatively shallow tops to the reef with deep channels in between the rock formations. It is gorgeous.
We were snorkeling between formations and a shark goes under us in about 30ft of water. The wife flips even though the shark is far away. Without my glasses, the head made it look like a small nurse. So, to settle her down I plunged down toward it to show her nurse sharks aren’t scary... not like attacking it, just closer.
I got closer and realized... uh oh. Only 5-6ft and a baby, but square head with little nibs on the corners. It’s a bull. I turned to go up and noticed it notice me. I was freaked now, but couldn’t tell the wife.
No B.S. About 30s later that shark came from 30ft down straight at my stomach. 2 feet away it turned and shot off.
I calmly said “hey let’s head back toward the boat” and we got over the 3-4ft deep top. Dad’s girlfriend was in front. Again, this sounds like b.s., so I’ll say no b.s.
3 of them came to us to the front of our group. The gfriend was head down looking at rocks and fish. These things were going in a circle. 1 would come straight at her head, then turn. Then the next and the next.
Now, I had a decision. What do I do? She didn’t even know it b/c she was so absorbed in something. Do I splash and tell her? That might get them to me. I have a new kid. And what about the wife b/c she’s next to me. ugh.
It only took a second... gotta be the man. Splash splash splash “[name] look at me hey hey hey look up”. She abruptly turns in the water (too fast for the situation) and yells “what?! what?!” like I was truly annoying her.
The sharks had bolted and disappeared. “let’s get to the boat hurry up.” The wife saw the whole thing and was almost in shock. We had some deep water to cover on the way. I let the gfriend take left, put the wife in middle, and I took right. I hoped if anything happened, the center would be ok.
When we got back to the boat, the gfriend had no idea the sharks were even there. My wife thought it was scary but “cool that we got to see nurse sharks cuz they don’t bite”. umm yeah. I told them they were bulls.
I honestly thought one of us was going to die that day. That run at my stomach would have been fatal and painful.
At the time, we lived a block from the beach in Ft. Lauderdale. I used to drag a small float out to the first reef using a little motor seadoo thing. I would anchor the float. It had a cooler and i could put the seedoo on it. Then, I would lobster and bring home my catch for dinner. No more of that for me. Alone that far out scares me now.
So thats like, not in my house, right.
Walker says there are no known inland shark attacks in Louisiana.
Maybe he means, “No known survivors of inland shark attacks.”
Al long as they don’t have Frikkin laser beams on their
That was near my hometown of North East, MD. The fisherman who caught it was named Henry “Pip” Pratt, and the shark was trapped in one of his eel pots, if I remember correctly. The shark was hung up by the tail in the churchyard in town (St. Mary Ann’s) and the whole town turned out to see it (including me - I was a kid at the time). Come to think of it, my father has a few of the shark teeth from it - Mr. Pratt gave them to him because he (my father) was his dentist.
Actually, Bull Sharks have been identified 1800 miles up the Ole Miss in Illinois with rumors as far north as Minn “Land of Sky Blue Lakes and Bull Sharks:
This is the subject of my movie Red Water.
“We’re gonna need a bigger bass boat.”
oh yes, I will be sure and STOP SWIMMING IN THE SWAMP !!!
Such a stupid article.
How many folks go SWIMMING in the swamp with the ALLIGATORS ?!?
IIRC it was in the mid 80’s and it was 2 sharks that summer that were caught in the upper Chesapeake Bay. I have searched for any info on the web about it but can not find any old articles. if you can remember anything else or have a link to an old story I would appreciate it. no one believes me-LOL
the atchafalaya basin is perfect for water sports. the word “swamp” throws people off. It has many parts that are open for such things as fishing, skiing, wakeboarding, etc. I live a few miles from the basin and I am in the waters all the time. Alligators are less aggressive than people think and this bull shark incident won’t stop me from swimming in the basin its the perfect place to enjoy any type of water-related activity.