“I actually play the ‘Jaws’ theme song when I fish,” said Joseph Rohaley after finding a bull shark during his lakefront fishing trip.
This time, the theme song was definitely appropriate. While casting his line out onto Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, Rohaley found a rather toothy fish on the end of his hook. He came home with a story for the ages.
Even though Pontchartrain is, in fact, a lake, its narrow passage connects it to the Gulf of Mexico, making it more of a “tidal lagoon” than anything, according to Britannica.com.
“Anything that is in the Gulf of Mexico is in Lake Pontchartrain,” Rohaley said, according to WKRN.
Because of its saltwater connections, it’s not all that surprising that an occasional shark finds its way into the lake. For Rohaley, though, what was shocking about the bull shark was its size. While small in size, bull sharks are incredibly aggressive, as Rohaley experienced first-hand.
He spent 45 minutes pulling the 5-foot-5-inch shark into his grasp. Even though bull sharks tend to average between 7 and 11 feet, Lake Pontchartrain locals hadn’t seen one quite this big in their waters.
The angler decided to throw out his line from the shore instead of from a boat. And there’s a good reason for that. According to the fisherman, choosing to fight a bull shark from a boat is a dangerous mistake “Because that line can zip from 150 yards to 300 yards in 20 seconds.”
You have a much better chance of survival if you fall in near the shoreline than you do in open water.
Angler Warns Fellow Louisiana Lake Enthusiasts of Bull Sharks
Knowing just how powerful these fish are, Rohaley wanted to pass on the warning to fellow anglers and lake enthusiasts. He encouraged folks to use caution while on or near the water. After all, bull sharks are among the three shark types most likely to bite humans. The other two are Great Whites and tiger sharks.
“It is amazing how close sharks can come in at night. It is like people don’t realize,” he stated.
There are actually a few ways that locals can avoid being the bull shark’s catch. Rich Toth from Audubon Aquarium of the Americas explained swimmers should avoid dark, murky waters, particularly at dusk and dawn when sharks come closer to shore to feed. Additionally, Lake Pontchartrain visitors should refrain from wearing shiny or sparkly clothing and jewelry in the water as this may attract bull sharks.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to ensure your own safety around these sharks.
“There’s teeth in there. I mean, if you’re in that water, you’re game,” Toth said. “Just be careful when you’re out on the water because you just don’t know what’s in that water.”