Two Texas fishermen hooked the same lemon shark one year apart, but this time around, the over ten-foot shark is an expecting mother.
Both fishermen were part of the Texas Shark Rodeo, a competition that is a catch and release, team fishing tournament. According to the website, the competition’s main point is to tag and collect data for shark conservation.
In the first photo, Nick Fuller caught the lemon shark on July 12, 2019, off the Padre Island National Seashore.
“That was the first shark I ever caught on that particular rod and reel,” Fuller recalls.
This year, Paul Odabashian was the lucky angler to reel in the now-pregnant lemon shark. He caught the massive fish just a few miles from where Fuller previously did on Padre Island.
“I took down the tag number and got my measurements really quickly, and the shark was swimming off no more than a minute later after landing it,” said Odabashian. “With the tag number and the description of the bite mark, it was easy to figure out who had previously caught it. I searched the Texas Shark Rodeo website, and there was only one lemon that length, and sure enough, it had a big bite mark on the face.”
He adds, “her girth changed dramatically, which indicated she was pregnant and probably almost due at the time I caught her.”
A lemon shark’s gestation period lasts anywhere between ten to twelve months. The sharks can range between four to seventeen pups in each litter.
Everything is Bigger in Texas
Lemon sharks can grow between eight to ten feet, making the mother shark the men caught on the larger end of the scale. The sharks also have a lifespan of 27 years, says the Florida Museums website.
Odabashian says that his catch “is pending becoming the catch and release lemon shark state record.” He has submitted all the proper forms, but is still waiting to hear back from the Texas Parks and Wildlife officials for confirmation.