Trout angler bitten by misguided shark


An unfortunate angler avoided a citation for catching undersized trout recently in a most unfortunate way, via shark bite.

On Sept. 9 at around noon a pair of anglers were wade fishing near the Three Sisters Islands close to Boca Grande Pass, according to a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

While they were wading on the shallow grass flats of Gasparilla Sound the anglers were approached by officers with the FWC. Officers Chris Roszkowiak and Jeremy Fillie discovered that the anglers had undersized spotted sea trout on a stringer. When the officers asked the anglers for fishing licenses, they said the license was in the distant boat that they had used to get to Three Sisters, a location remote from land transport.

The officers accompanied the two anglers as they waded back to the boat. But on the way one angler was reportedly bitten by a shark.

"We think it was a bonnet shark (a small type of hammerhead)," FWC information officer Gary Morse said. "The water was very murky and very shallow and the wound wasn't large. That would indicate that it was caused by a bonnet shark that was attempting to eat the trout on the stringer."

After performing first aid, the officers took the victim to Miller's Marina in Boca Grande where Lee County EMS transported him to Englewood Hospital. Due to the recently passed Health Information Public Privacy Act the exact nature of the wound and the victim's name are not available. However, the incident is newsworthy to some extent. It was the first shark attack of the year on the west coast of Florida.

There have been 19 unprovoked shark attacks in Florida this year but all have been on the east coast. This incident will probably go down as an unprovoked attack, according to experts with the International Shark Attack File. A shark that is attempting to feed on wounded fish and bites a person instead is thought to have been provoked.

Lee County has recorded three unprovoked attacks. Interestingly, Charlotte County has seen two attacks on record, with one fatality in 1907.

The angler in question apparently received sutures for the bite. But he did get off lucky. The snap of the shark kept him from getting a ticket for the trout.

"I guess our officers felt like that would be adding insult to injury," Morse quipped.

It's certainly not an easy way to avoid a ticket. And the law on trout now has a lot more teeth to it.


By G.B. KNOWLES

Sun Correspondent