A fisherman from Lincoln County caught an oddity while on a charter boat in the Sheepscot River of Wiscasset, Maine. Newcastle charter boat Capt. Dean Krah said he has fished Maine’s waters for decades, and even he wasn’t sure what his customer had snagged. “I’ve caught every shark out there in the ocean, including a great white, but none of us had ever seen a shark like this before,” Krah told The Lincoln County News. “He had a tail, almost like a thresher shark, and a big set of teeth, and there were gills along the side, like a great white. The color was beautiful. He had brown spots.”
Krah said his client, Dave Fischer, and a guest, Al Andrews of Westport Island caught the fish while they were striped bass fishing near the mouth of Marsh River. This was about a mile north of Donald E.Davey Bridge that connects Edgecomb to Wiscasset. The men reported that the fish put up quite a struggle. “My client hooked up and he and this fish just fought and fought,” Krah explained. “[The shark] went down deep and hard. He finally got it up where we could see it and we thought we had a live sturgeon.”
The men succeeded in bringing the shark aboard. However, he was just shy of 4 feet and weighed an estimated 40 to 50 pounds, Krah said. The skipper speculated that Fischer had reeled in a thresher shark or potentially a juvienille great white. The men photographed the fish before releasing it back into the water, hook and all. Krah admitted that he wasn’t feeling particularly brave, given the size of the shark’s teeth.
An expert weighs in on the official species of the shark
In an email correspondence with Krah, Matt Davis, a Maine Department of Marine Resources scientist, identified the fish as a sand tiger shark, Carcharias taurus. Davis he identified the species by noting the “ragged teeth, a ‘hunched’ back, a very tall second dorsal fin, and a very long upper tail lobe.”
“Sand tigers are not uncommon in Maine, but we usually hear about them more in the south around the Nubble/Cape Neddick area,” Davis explained. “I imagine as our waters warm over the coming decades, we could be seeing more of them extend throughout the state.”
Sand tiger sharks, more commonly known as docile and slow moving creatures, are not aggressive toward humans. This makes them a popular choice for public aquariums due to the species ability to survive in captivity. This summer, sharks have been making headlines. In Maine’s waters, several sightings of the fish have been reported–including a great white that killed a seal near Pemaquid Point in July.