Careful! There are sharks in the ocean

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  • Local news outlets are at it again, channeling the ignorant public’s nightmares of Jaws — sensationalizing the presence of hammerhead sharks off our coast. Lifeguards responded to a sighting (YouTube video here of the encounter) of a hammerhead shark by kayak anglers near La Jolla Shores by closing down the beach.

    Newsflash folks: there are sharks in the ocean, ALL the time. If you’ve surfed, bodyboarded, swam or just splashed around in the waves of a San Diego beach, you’ve been in the water with a shark big and strong enough to make a meal of you. But you’re here, reading this, because sharks don’t want to eat you. As I’m sure you’re aware, shark attacks are fluke cases of mistaken identity. Especially on the left coast, where great whites, makos, and thresher sharks are present within a stone’s throw of the surfline year-round.

    Fishermen have been spotting hammerheads regularly since last summer, especially for the last few weeks when it’s probably more noteworthy to not see a hammerhead at some point during the day than it would be to have one circling the boat. The hammerheads, like the hooked tuna they are hoping to find alongside your vessel, are here in unusually large numbers due to the warmer than average water temperatures.

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  • “We are seeing a hammerhead almost every trip, more than I have ever seen, they are trying to get every tuna we hook up,” said Sonny Dawson of Exotics Fishing Charters, who sent us the attached video clip below of a recent encounter with a hammerhead 35 miles west of Point Loma (warning, some adult language at the end of the video).

    Fishermen are more in tune with the local sea life more than any other group, sans the oceanography scientists atop the cliff in La Jolla at Scripps. And while sharks take their share of hooked fish and can frustrate anglers at times, fishermen as a group recognize the importance of them within the ecosystem rather than fear them. On the contrary, I’ve never met a saltwater fishermen who appreciated the presence of a California sealion, an overpopulated nuisance species adored by many landlubbers.

    So expect to see continuing coverage of sharks terrifying beach goers with their mere presence alongside “heartwarming” stories of Sea World saving another washed up rodent of the sea that mother nature is attempting to purge. They just don’t get it.

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    Established in 1996, sdfish.com is San Diego's original and #1 source for updated fishing information, reports, and much more!

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    Dave GentryMichelle Woo BowmanDarren GayLarry M ManiscalcoGavin Czach Recent comment authors
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    Jared Hatt
    Jared Hatt

    It’s the same people that ask me if I really caught that fish off the beach or off the pier. It’s like they think the fish are going to avoid areas where people are.

    Christopher Koepke
    Christopher Koepke

    Do you really catch fish with those lures? No I just think they look pretty.

    Christopher Koepke
    Christopher Koepke

    And growing up surfing and most surfers will agree that sea lions are way scarier than sharks. They’re essential to our ecosystem too . It is funny how hammerhead sharks off La Jolla made national news

    Kevin M. Norling
    Kevin M. Norling

    SHARK!!!! Let’s go swimming!

    Larry M Maniscalco
    Larry M Maniscalco

    Dylan you’re a hammerhead

    Gavin Czach
    Gavin Czach

    I recently had a close incounter with a hammerhead in malibu area, very pretty and aggressive, bit my kayak on video! No matter what just keep your cool!

    Darren Gay
    Darren Gay

    We saw 6 in Mexican waters on Saturday.

    Dave Gentry
    Dave Gentry

    Yup, I’ve seen one every trip. I don’t understand people getting wound up about them.

    Michelle Woo Bowman
    Michelle Woo Bowman

    Because of the movie Jaws and Shark Week. They both sensationalize innate fears in humans.

    Michelle Woo Bowman
    Michelle Woo Bowman

    Oh…and the media. The hammerhead that “bit: the guy up north on the hand…my friend’s neighbor was on the boat and the guy had a speared yellowtail in his hand and the shark brushed it while going for the fish. And the hammerhead “following the kayakers to the beach”? That… Read more »