Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring: The new shark season?

About this time last year we had a bunch of shark incidents...either people getting bumped, shark sightings, or the one horrible case of a swimmer being killed.

This year it sounds like the sharks are starting to get a little sassy again...there has been a couple of sightings down in South OC, and now some headless seal-lions have started washing up around Bolsa Chica.

While I was living up north...up by the Oregon Border...we definitely had a shark season in the Fall. The combo of big salmon runs and seal-lion breeding definitely increased Great White activity in the region...to the point that rivermouths were places to be well-avoided.

I am starting to wonder if Spring is Socal and Mexico’s version of “shark season”...what do you guys think? (Drop me some comments if you get a minute...I would love to hear from some Marine Biologists if we have any that read the blog)

Hey shouldn’t the bars on this cage be a little thicker?

Anyway...it just seems like activity is starting to rise again like it did last year.

If you are bored at work, here are a few articles that I threw up on the blog last year...


Shark Encounter Huntington Beach (Interview)

Shark Encounter Huntington Beach

Here is some of the latest locally reported activity in 2009...

Dead Seals at Bolsa Chica

Shark Sighting at San Onofre

2008 Shark attack review in the OC register

Oh and Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Anonymous said...

Was surfing at County Line yesterday. Felt something bump the back of my board, turned around...a small leopard shark (about 2 feet) had swam up onto my tailpad. As soon as I turned around, it swam right off but it scared the crap out of me.

Anonymous said...

Three years ago about this time in MArch I encountered a great white at Zuma. It was 6:30 AM , I was by myself (luckily my kids slept in that morning). I was surrounded by a pod of dolphins for about 5 minutes and they just floating and slapping the water within arm's length of me, then a set started to roll through and they were riding the swell. At that point I went to get a wave and saw a dark shadow moving very fast underneath me, as I got up into the shoulder I coud see a dorsal fin and head pop out of the water and it had some type of fish in its mouth thrashing.....I got the hell out.

Saturday I was surfing by Topanga and we all saw a small shark that appeared to be a sand or leopard shark skulking around at the surface with its dorsal moving back and forth, surprisingly it went right under several surfboards and didn't bother anyone.

Anonymous said...

Leopard sharks are harmless...

Anonymous said...

Shark sighting at Sunset, near Topanga in LA, on Saturday. Grunion run this past weekend, also. Last time there was a shark at Sunset -- Aug 15/16 -- was grunion run, too. I'd be curious to learn, from a marine biologist, if grunion run is something that would interest sharkie.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks for killing my buzz, Buzz Killington. It's taken me a long time to become comfortable in the ocean, but now I can renew my fears for something that is less likely to happen to me than getting hit by lightning while having a car wreck.

Anonymous said...

every late springe and summer, i surf with 4-5 leopard sharks at my local break. I've counted as many as 40 just inside the line-up cruising the shallows. since they are harmless, i actually like the clear days when i can see them under me as i fly above them on a wave. kinda fun. the goal is to not land on one. i did once, and it freaked me and it out.
all fun aside though, i never want to see a "real" shark in the water with me, as I know it would do something deeply psychological to me to mess up every session from that point on. real sharks scare the crap out of me, and i actually thought about going surfing in solana beach just to flood the fear, but so far i have not.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am a marine biologist and regularly do research at Bolsa Chica, Hermosa, Belmont Shore, and Seal Beach. Since performing research monthly over the past two years, the only type of cartilaginous fishes we encountered (mostly during the summer)include rays (round, bat and butterfly), guitarfish, grey smoothhound, and leopard sharks. We fish in the morning after sunrise. Among the community of shark biologists on the west coast it is generally agreed that the Southern California Bight is a pupping ground for great whites. That means the females, which grow larger than males, give birth nearshore to our beaches. This also explains why juvenile white sharks tend to be captured during the summer months off southern CA. There is still a lot to be learned about the great white. Some interesting tagging research can be seen on this website: http://www.topp.org/
As far as my own opinion on surfing with sharks in the lineup: face it, they are there even though you can't see them. Though they tend to be more active during twilight hours. Sadly, great whites are pretty rare these days. If I saw one in the lineup I wouldn't stick around. I do not believe that large white sharks become long term residents of a small area simply because they are a highly migratory species. They may pass through the same areas throughout their lives, but generally they have places to go and seals to eat. Bottomline, at least 98% of the sharks you will encounter while surfing in SoCal are harmless. A house cat has sharper teeth than a leopard shark and leopard sharks are still way cooler.

Anonymous said...

was surfin at the Carlsbad campgrounds on tuesday and got a glimpse of a big black and grey shark fin about 100 yards from the break. My friend went out the next day at the same spot and saw a Great white in the same spot runnin the coast for about 10 min.
I havent surfed there the last couple days. too sketchy.
ive been surfin up north near oside instead.

Anonymous said...

It was last Sunday...low tide.
While Stand Up Surfing on the Palos Verdes Peninsula area, as soon as I got to the water and stood up, I saw a scholl of 4 or 6 leopard sharks swimming under my board. They vary from 2 feet to biggest one about 4 to 5 feet. Being the first time having that type of encounter, it really got me nervous.
But there was a seal also swimming really close by... so I thought that if it was OK for it, then it should be ok for me too !
Getting t the line up, I mentioned to some of the other surfers and they said it was pretty common to see leopard sharks in the area... and I only saw them because I was Standing Up on the board.
Glad to hear here that they are in general harmless ! They for sure looked really cool !!
But it really made me wonder if that place would be a good place to take my kid and his friends to go snorkeling on the sunny weekends (??).
Although I have seem a lot of people snorkeling and Scuba diving on the same area.

It was a good day of surfing though ! :-)

SH Instructors Calendar said...

Found a headless seal (not the first) about a mile south of Rincon Point in Ventura...today. Also numerous sightings at Rincon the last week or so.