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Fisherman reports encounter with 20-foot great white off Point Defiance [Tacoma Washington]
The [Tacoma] News Tribune ^ | December 15th, 2002 | Bob Mottram

Posted on 12/15/2002 6:57:10 PM PST by HairOfTheDog

Fisherman reports encounter with 20-foot great white off Point Defiance

Bob Mottram; The News Tribune

A retired aquarium worker and well-known Tacoma angler, Bob Salatino, encountered what he says was an 18- to 20-foot great white shark in Puget Sound off Tacoma's Point Defiance.

Salatino worked for 20 years at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. John Rupp, the aquatic animal curator there, described him as "a knowledgeable fisherman."

Salatino said Friday he encountered the shark while fishing alone for salmon Dec. 6. He was several hundred yards north of Point Defiance.

"The sun was shining, no wind, the water was clear. I was letting my gear out," he said.

Salatino fished with a wire "meat line," a flasher and a bait of herring. A flasher is a metal or plastic device attached to the line ahead of the bait to attract salmon.

"I was standing up in my boat to see how the herring was working behind the flasher," he said. "The flasher was skipping along the top of the water. I went to let it down, and the shark grabbed it."

Salatino had attached a 5-pound lead weight to the line, to take the bait to deep water.

"That 5 pounds of lead just stopped dead," he said. "When he grabbed it, the line went slack. I started cranking in, and my pole bent right around."

Then the shark "just came charging right out of the water," about 25 feet away, Salatino said. "It had the flasher in its mouth, and was throwing its head back and forth. His teeth were like a foot in front of his jaws."

The shark rolled completely over, Salatino said, and the flasher snapped out of its mouth.

"It had a lot of tension, and came flying straight at me," he said, "coming like a bullet. I ducked, and it went clear on the other side of the boat."

The shark splashed around a bit on the surface, dived, and came back to the surface two more times.

"He was looking me square in the eye," Salatino said. "His eyeball was rolled way back."

The shark was 2 to 4 feet longer than his 16-foot boat, the angler said. It was gray on top, its belly was white, and it had "a huge stomach."

Tawnya Patrick, manager of the marine biology program at the University of Washington, said she had not heard of any other encounters with great whites in Puget Sound but that such a thing "is possible." Great whites inhabit the ocean from California to Vancouver Island, she said.

Rupp, the aquatic animal curator, said an encounter such as Salatino described was "improbable but not impossible.

"I suspect that great white sharks do make occasional sorties into Puget Sound," he said. "It would not be a normal occurrence, but it's certainly within the realm of possibility."

Great white sharks patrol offshore on the Washington coast "pretty much all the time," Rupp said. There are no recorded landings or encounters in Puget Sound.

What might prompt a great white to enter Puget Sound?

"It would be pure speculation," Rupp said. "You can go all the way from food drive to just curiosity."

Salatino knows the incident sounds impossible.

"I didn't want to say anything," he said. "Who'd believe you?"

The only potential witnesses were several yards away in another boat. "Two guys should have witnessed it, but they had their heads down," Salatino said.

Bob Mottram: 253-597-8640

bob.mottram@mail.tribnet.com

Sharks at a glance

The great white shark, also called the white shark, white death and man-eater, occurs worldwide in temperate seas. It feeds on fish, gulls, seals and sea lions.

The International Game Fish Association says the great white probably is the most dangerous shark, considering its size, strength and inclination to attack. It has attacked small boats, sometimes sinking them, the association says, and has been known to take a "larger" boat by the propeller and shake it.

An angler fishing off southern Australia in 1959 captured a great white shark that weighed 2,664 pounds.

Bob Mottram


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Washington
KEYWORDS: greatwhiteshark; jaws
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We don't have Great White Sharks in Puget Sound!


1 posted on 12/15/2002 6:57:10 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: HairOfTheDog
Isn't it a tad bit cold for Great Whites in that part of Pacific? I thought that White sharks were mainly found in southern latitudes - around Australia, South Africa, etc. What the heck is a great white shark doing in Puget Sound?
2 posted on 12/15/2002 7:01:04 PM PST by Notforprophet
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To: Sam Cree; Ramius; Scott from the Left Coast
Point defiance is the point that runs NW out to the Narrows from Tacoma (Commencement Bay)


3 posted on 12/15/2002 7:02:39 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Notforprophet; HairOfTheDog
On second reading, it does say they are found "world wide in temperate seas". Though I've never heard of one so far north.
4 posted on 12/15/2002 7:02:41 PM PST by Notforprophet
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To: Notforprophet
Good question! We don't have great white sharks!

I thought they came as far north as San Francisco!
5 posted on 12/15/2002 7:03:32 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Notforprophet
He is quite a ways inland, though, if you find Tacoma on the map. Very curious! I will say that Point Defiance is loaded with Harbor seals. It would be a good gig for a shark.
6 posted on 12/15/2002 7:05:18 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: HairOfTheDog
That's what I have always liked about saltwater fishing: The unexpected!
7 posted on 12/15/2002 7:06:05 PM PST by Bogie
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To: HairOfTheDog
Anyone who would report seeing a "great white" is obviously a racist, and should be censured.
8 posted on 12/15/2002 7:07:16 PM PST by Paul Atreides
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To: HairOfTheDog
Too far north? I don't think so. My aunt, a whale of a lady from Miami, is spending the winter in Toronto. Hey, it happens.
9 posted on 12/15/2002 7:08:11 PM PST by AGreatPer
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To: HairOfTheDog

"You're gonna need a bigger boat."
10 posted on 12/15/2002 7:09:18 PM PST by Bear_in_RoseBear
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To: HairOfTheDog
Damn!!!

I knew I shouldn't have dumped out my pet shark in that sound about 20 years ago.

Sorry guys!
11 posted on 12/15/2002 7:13:33 PM PST by The Magical Mischief Tour
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To: Paul Atreides; Bear_in_RoseBear
HA!

They are coming inland!


12 posted on 12/15/2002 7:19:28 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: HairOfTheDog
If you have seals or sea lions in Puget Sound, then you have Great Whites. Since the ban on shooting "water varmints" (aka seals) the number of shark attacks off the oregon coast has risen. The seals also consume huge quantities of "endangered salmon". I guess it's ok if a predator eats those salmon though, God forbid if an angler that pays money to the state for a license can catch and eat one.
13 posted on 12/15/2002 7:19:57 PM PST by Tailback
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To: HairOfTheDog
" Great whites inhabit the ocean from California to Vancouver Island, she said."

Most of these people (academics) are really underqualified, I am thinking that most ordinary folks even know that great whites occur in all of the oceans of the world, not just where that dummy lives.

Remember when, in the early 1900's, a great white swam 11 miles up a New Jersey river, into fresh water, and ate some kids, plus an adult, in a swimming hole, before escaping?

BTW, among sharks, great whites are kind of unmistakable in appearance, no matter their size, only one other shark, the mako, looks very much like them, so, if the aquarium worker was much up to speed on sharks, he's probably right on the ID.

14 posted on 12/15/2002 7:23:34 PM PST by Sam Cree
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To: HairOfTheDog
You see, that picture right there illustrates why you should never attempt to make it across low-water crossings.
15 posted on 12/15/2002 7:23:41 PM PST by Bear_in_RoseBear
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To: Notforprophet
Isn't it a tad bit cold for Great Whites in that part of Pacific? I thought that White sharks were mainly found in southern latitudes - around Australia, South Africa, etc. What the heck is a great white shark doing in Puget Sound? There's an El Nino phenomenom occuring right now. The warming of the waters off the west coast of South America may be affecting waters as far north as Washington and Canada. This may have caused this event to happen.
16 posted on 12/15/2002 7:32:57 PM PST by Archangelsk
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To: Tailback
I support the ban on shooting seals. If people hunted them for food, I could accept that. But self-appointed vigilantes shooting them because they eat fish is just as wacked as the eco-terrorists who think we can't take fish either. A harbor seal washed up on our beach once, shot in the head, and it made my blood boil.

We have both a healthy salmon population and a healthy seal population. We can watch them out front every day. What a treat. We have a couple of pods of killer whales that make their rounds through every year. I am happy to have them all. Seals are not varmints, they are part of the world we live in.

I don't buy the native versus hatchery fish nonsense. There are more fish returning to the hatcheries than ever. I think we can support them all here. I agree we have to be smarter, and stop the practice of pretending hatchery fish don't count. They are the same dang fish, from the same dang river, as the "wild fish".
17 posted on 12/15/2002 7:33:14 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Sam Cree
The speculation is that the New Jersey shark was a Bull Shark. They are known for their tolerance of fresh water...and ferociousness.
18 posted on 12/15/2002 7:37:15 PM PST by PoorMuttly
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour
HA! If he has a collar with your ID tag on it still... you are in big trouble!
19 posted on 12/15/2002 7:42:58 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: PoorMuttly
That's true about bulls...they are a common shallow water shark here in FL, do they often occur that far north?

I hadn't heard that speculation, but am interested in it.
20 posted on 12/15/2002 7:44:38 PM PST by Sam Cree
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To: Archangelsk
We have had the El Nino phenomenon stuff happening the last few years. I don't fully understand it, but it might explain it.

I know it is very uncommon for them to be in Puget Sound. It isn't something that even enters our minds on the waters here. Heh... Until now of course!
21 posted on 12/15/2002 7:45:02 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Notforprophet
Isn't it a tad bit cold for Great Whites in that part of Pacific?

That's what the mayor of Amity wants you to think...

22 posted on 12/15/2002 7:47:06 PM PST by Senator Pardek
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: Senator Pardek
Course you know how fishermen exaggerate the size....


24 posted on 12/15/2002 7:55:27 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: PoorMuttly; Sam Cree
"That's true about bulls...they are a common shallow water shark here in FL, do they often occur that far north? "

"I hadn't heard that speculation, but am interested in it."

I saw a History channel documentary not too long ago about the bull shark that killed several people in a small tidal creek in New Jersey.

25 posted on 12/15/2002 7:55:47 PM PST by Vigilantcitizen
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To: HairOfTheDog; Overtaxed
I credit El Nino for giving us such a mild hurricane season this year, for which I am thankful. Supposedly El Nino's cause wet winters and falls in the Southeast, which could be good for the drought.

Didn't know it caused great whites, though.
26 posted on 12/15/2002 7:56:41 PM PST by Sam Cree
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: PoorMuttly; jbind
It's true that bulls are mean, and get big, but I haven't heard stories of them just disappearing with humans, as great whites are known to do?
28 posted on 12/15/2002 8:06:52 PM PST by Sam Cree
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To: HairOfTheDog
That's unbelievable! A killer whale OK. But a great white????? (Now wouldn't that be a weird encounter -- a killer whale runs into a great white. Bye Bye great white! Wrong neck of the woods.
29 posted on 12/15/2002 8:13:22 PM PST by Scott from the Left Coast
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To: Scott from the Left Coast
Stranger than fiction eh? I think you are right... Killer whales have got to be faster and smarter than even a large shark.
30 posted on 12/15/2002 8:14:49 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Sam Cree
Post 23 pretty much says it. They don't mind shallow, muddy water...unlike what I'd expect of a Great White...and just one look at a Bull may tell you something about how "sensitive" and intelligent they are ! They are lumpy and stupid looking...and mean.
31 posted on 12/15/2002 8:15:45 PM PST by PoorMuttly
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To: HairOfTheDog
Bob Salatino

I've met that guy!!! He was a little into amateur radio (Ham), which was my dad's hobby. When I was a boy, we'd go to the aquarium and he'd come out to say hi to my dad and point out all of the fishes in the NW exhibit (giant round pool that you could look in from above or from the sides through glass). This is really gettin' strange now!

32 posted on 12/15/2002 8:16:51 PM PST by Scott from the Left Coast
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To: HairOfTheDog
Not to mention, one helluva lot bigger!!
33 posted on 12/15/2002 8:17:33 PM PST by Scott from the Left Coast
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To: HairOfTheDog; PoisedWoman; big ern; Publius; Billthedrill
"Salatino worked for 20 years at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. John Rupp, the aquatic animal curator there, described him as "a knowledgeable fisherman."

This guy was no ordinary schmuck. After 20 years of working at a zoo and aquarium, he should know what he saw. I would believe him. We didn't used to have sea lions here either, but now the place is crawling with them. Watch for more sightings, Doggie Hair.

34 posted on 12/15/2002 8:17:45 PM PST by holyscroller
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To: holyscroller; Scott from the Left Coast
Watch for more sightings

I will keep an eye out for sure!

Scott and I were just talking about it on another thread, Point Defiance is a popular scuba area.... The Narrows is just around the corner, where the octopus watchers come from around the world to dive. And our beach house is just around the corner again, 5-6 miles away on Hale's Pass, on the mainland facing Fox Island. If I see one, I will let you know!

35 posted on 12/15/2002 8:20:59 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Scott from the Left Coast
So, you know the guy.... Is he on the up and up? He was on Channel 7 news... they may replay the interview!
36 posted on 12/15/2002 8:22:34 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Seattle; cmsgop; GOV'T MULE
Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah,
I've only seen grey whales, and only from Browns Point!

:)A
37 posted on 12/15/2002 8:23:28 PM PST by RIGHT IN SEATTLE
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To: HairOfTheDog
He sure knew the NW fishes like the back of his hand -- subspecies, male from female, little ones and big ones. He'd point out something different in the exhibit that was new or rare. I'd say he'd be about as much an expert on marine life as I've ever met (haven't met that many). I was a boy then (about 30 years ago) so I couldn't tell much, but my dad always considered him a great expert on such things.
38 posted on 12/15/2002 8:26:21 PM PST by Scott from the Left Coast
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To: PoorMuttly
"Bull Sharks were responsible for all of the encounters in FL last year. They are supposedly pretty dumb, even for a shark, and have poor eyesight. Apparently they take bites of things they bump into, which accounts for all of those people being bitten on their legs."

I believe all the above is true...I've spent lots of time on the water, over many years, and am on a first name basis with bulls, up to c.450 lbs.

It's just that, in spite of the bites for which they are credited (rightfully, IMO), I've never heard of one swallowing 1/2 or all of a human, as great whites are known to do, and as the shark in NJ did. Who knows, though. The rest of that MO fits the bull, it is true. I've heard the stories from Lake Nicaragua, but am not sure if anything like that has been reported elsewhere.

39 posted on 12/15/2002 8:27:54 PM PST by Sam Cree
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To: Sam Cree
Up into the 1920's at least, striped bass on Long Island, even in the Sound, were often over 100 lbs. Sharks too ???
40 posted on 12/15/2002 8:30:42 PM PST by PoorMuttly
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To: Scott from the Left Coast
Hey Scott, I was mentioning to Hair, IMO, and I am right here, a great white has a very different appearance from other sharks, has a couple points that are kind of unmistakable, so this guy should have been able to tell. Only the mako is very similar.
41 posted on 12/15/2002 8:32:08 PM PST by Sam Cree
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To: Seattle; cmsgop; GOV'T MULE
Location of the Puget Sound Hog Roast 2000.
Diane Fineswine surfaces, only to be caught by a striking lonshoreMAN!

:)
42 posted on 12/15/2002 8:32:42 PM PST by RIGHT IN SEATTLE
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To: All

ooops

43 posted on 12/15/2002 8:34:41 PM PST by RIGHT IN SEATTLE
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To: Sam Cree
Hi Sam. There's no doubt that this guy would know something that wasn't normal to Puget Sound. I'm sure he's very knowledgable about the kinds of sharks and dogfishes that are found here. A 20 footer is decent sized (I've seen 10 foot dogfishes, but never anything close to 20 -- except Orcas, which are much, much bigger than any shark, even a great white.

This guy is probably a pretty authoritative source.

44 posted on 12/15/2002 8:38:47 PM PST by Scott from the Left Coast
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To: PoorMuttly
We've caught bull sharks (small ones) over 50 miles inland in the Edisto here in South Carolina. Fish and Wildlife just shake their head and shrug when you bring one in. The bull shark may be the top of the class of human munching predatory sharks. It's also called the Zambezi shark and is responsible for the bulk of shark attacks in South Africa and the surrounding coastal and inland river areas.
45 posted on 12/15/2002 8:44:06 PM PST by SandfleaCSC
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To: SandfleaCSC
50 miles inland. Wow. Hope someone posts a photo.
These are dangerous critters, for sure.
46 posted on 12/15/2002 8:48:39 PM PST by PoorMuttly
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To: PoorMuttly
"Up into the 1920's at least, striped bass on Long Island, even in the Sound, were often over 100 lbs. Sharks too ???"

"The maximum reported length of the bull shark is 11.5 feet (350 cm), weighing over 500 pounds (230 kg). Size at birth is around 29 inches (75 cm). Females grow larger than males, averaging 7.8 feet (240 cm) as adults, weighing around 285 pounds (130 kg). This is the result of a longer lifespan of about 16 years, compared to 12 years for males. Males average 7.3 feet (225 cm) and weigh 209 pounds (95 kg). Growth rates calculated from captive bull sharks were estimated to be about 11 inches (28 cm) per year in the first years of life, slowing to half that rate after about 4 years of age...from the Florida Museum of Natural History.

I find them to actually be fairly elegant animals, though evil looking.

"The largest striped bass ever recorded was a 125 pound female from North Carolina, 1891." Didn't have any idea they ever got that big, 'til now. found that on a People's Republic of Maryland website.

Amazing what you can learn on FR.

47 posted on 12/15/2002 8:50:30 PM PST by Sam Cree
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To: Scott from the Left Coast; Sam Cree
I'd say he'd be about as much an expert on marine life as I've ever met (haven't met that many). I was a boy then (about 30 years ago) so I couldn't tell much, but my dad always considered him a great expert on such things.

Sounds like it... I am glad it happened to him!

...Poets talk about "spots of time," but it is really fishermen who experience eternity compressed into a moment. No one can tell what a spot of time is until suddenly the whole world is a fish and the fish is gone. I shall remember that son of a bitch forever...

... Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand when I was young are dead, but I still reach out to them.

Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn't. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.

~A River Runs through it...Norman Maclean


48 posted on 12/15/2002 8:57:42 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: HairOfTheDog; Scott from the Left Coast
Those are great quotes, Hair, should I read the book?

Good night, again, not sure why I am still up. So the breeze died down?
49 posted on 12/15/2002 9:01:57 PM PST by Sam Cree
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To: HairOfTheDog
Hold off on that Ark for a while ;-)
50 posted on 12/15/2002 9:06:20 PM PST by habs4ever
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