Did you miss Shark Week on the Discovery Channel? Never fear.
I’ll get you up to speed.
But, first, we’d better get a bigger boat, especially if we’re going fishing in the Potomac River, which is mostly noted by anglers for its largemouth bass and snakeheads.
And we’d better upgrade the hooks on our Zara Spooks.
That’s because a couple of 8-foot bull sharks have shown up there recently.
"When I first seen it, it was like 'Jaws' -- we need a bigger boat!" said Willy Dean, a commercial fisherman who found one of the big predators in his net.
"I'm not kidding you. It looked huge. I didn't know how we were gonna get it out. It's my first shark. I've been fishing here a little over 30 years, and it's the first time I've even seen one."
Now, let’s head over to Australia, where bull sharks have taken up residence in a golf course lake. Talk about a “water hazard.”
And Lake Nicaragua in Central America? I'd watch my back if I ventured into that body of freshwater.
“The picture above was taken in 2000 at the San Ramon Biological Station, Maderas National Park; it serves as evidence that sharks, indeed, do exist in Lake Nicaragua today. Two young, adult bull sharks are shown with Anna Maria Adamo (the former consul to the USA) and Rene Molina Valenzuela. The sharks were accidentally caught in the nets of local fisherman while fishing for other food species such as guapote and mojarra, as fishing for the sharks in Lake Nicaragua is not allowable. Thanks to Anna Maria Adamo for the photo.
“Nicaragua's freshwater sharks have been migrating up the Rio San Juan to Lake Nicaragua from the Atlantic Ocean, for as long as people can remember. Lake Nicaragua used to be well populated with bull sharks until the 1960s and 1970s when Nicaragua allowed Japan to build and operate a shark fin processing plant on the shores of the Rio San Juan. There was even a shark fin processing plant on the lake shores near Granada during the golden days of Nicaragua.”
And how about the bull shark that swam up the Mississippi River, all the way to Alton, Ill.? Maybe this explains why Jimmy Hoffa’s body hasn’t been found since he disappeared in 1975.
“Officially, bull sharks have made it up the Mississippi as far as Illinois. In the town of Alton, Illinois, which is above St. Louis, two commercial fishermen caught a bull shark in the river. This shark had been raiding their fish traps, and they decided to catch the culprit once and for all. They set a big trap, one that would catch the biggest muskellunge or pike. They were certainly shocked to find that it was a shark raiding their traps.
“Now, there is another interesting story that should be added. Although no official record of it exists, a man was supposedly attacked by a shark in Lake Michigan in 1955. This attack supposedly happened at one of the beaches near Chicago. The shark may have traveled through the Illinois River and then took a trip up the Michigan and Illinois Canal.
"However, the canal was disused and parts of it had already started falling in. It could have made it up the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the Great Lakes system. How it made it through the locks and dams on the St. Lawrence is a very good question. Further, bull sharks have been found only as far north as Massachusetts. None have been reported in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where they could enter the river and seaway.”
The inspiration for the novel “Jaws”? Peter Benchley supposedly got the idea from 1916 shark attacks along the inland waters of New Jersey.
“In the summer of 1916, panic struck the Jersey Shore. A shark sunk its teeth into Charles Vansant, the 25-year-old son of a Philadelphia businessman, out for an evening swim in the resort town of Beach Haven on July 1. A lifeguard pulled him ashore, but he quickly bled to death. Five days later, and 45 miles to the north, in Spring Lake, New Jersey, Charles Bruder, a young bellhop at a local hotel, met a similar fate.
“Then, something even stranger happened. The rogue great white traveled 30 miles north of Spring Lake and into Matawan Creek. On July 12, Lester Stillwell, 11, was playing in the creek 16 miles inland when the shark attacked. A young man named Watson Stanley Fisher attempted to save the boy, but was fatally injured in the process.
“Joseph Dunn was luckier. The teenager, the shark’s fifth victim, was bitten in the creek less than a half-hour later and survived.”
And, finally, here’s an interview with Bruce Fintale, who played the shark in the blockbuster movie that has spawned hundreds of sea monster movies.
And, we can’t forget the latest film epic, Sharknado.
Now, let’s all go swimming, shall we?