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Old 10-22-2015, 10:38 AM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,691

Here is an image looking south from the north jetty of the Boynton Inlet over the south jetty crowded with fishermen pulling up bluefish. You can see a small, fairly tightly packed group of surfers nearshore to the south. They were within about a 100 yards of the working birds and jumping bluefish. As tight as the surfers were packed, makes you wonder if they were staying closer together as a precaution against or in case of shark attack? You can make out a kite almost a mile south. This is the guy I later spoke to in the parking lot as I headed south myself. I ended up driving all the way down to Pompano Beach to kite. I didn't see any obvious shark sign or many fishermen either. Despite that four miles north of where I went kiting a surfer was bitten a little earlier that same day. I found out about the attack the afternoon of the following day. The bluefish are moving south along with the predators that dog the school until late winter, early spring when the spinners/blactips will head north again.

I went looking for some good birds working schools of bait shots and came across this one from the Daily Mail. Those guys do a lot of good photojournalism. This was in Australia but the scene may not be much different here at time say with the blacktip/spinner shark migration. You can see the mass of the schooling fish, the overflying and diving birds and the holes the sharks create in the schools. Other larger predators like tarpon and jacks can create holes as well.

The bait and sharks themselves can come very close to shore. The sharks can be seen in bare inches of water flapping among bait on the sand at times. So, just because you are close to shore don't assume sharks can't work in close too. Again, take out the schools of fish particularly those been aggressively fed upon and things can be more sedate with the sharks. They may swim off in fact if you come close to them, in SE Florida, much of the time. This may or may not be the case elsewhere particularly if they are distracted by hunting prey, seals, etc..

That is a lot of sharks but at times we may have similar groupings around Florida. The fish school may be a lot easier to see than the sharks from the ground surface. Not all sharks jump that much or do the classic dorsal fin glide at the surface so popular on TV. Usually, it is hard to see them, you just assume under certain circumstances that they may be there.

The Daily Mail article made one amusing statement; "The rules are dead simple and every surfer knows them. Don't go out there when there are bait fish around because there will be plenty of sharks in the area who are ready to eat more than just the fish." This may be the case in Australia, maybe, where the shark attacks can result in severe injury and fatality rate are much higher than say in Florida. We have far more attacks but few fatalities by comparison. Our surfers seem more inclined to ignore obvious shark sign and take their bites. Hopefully, the bites will be minor with no fatalities or permanent disfigurements. The later can happen at times but forewarned is forearmed. I recommend avoiding schools of fish particularly those being worked by predators for all the reasons given above.
FKA, Inc.

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Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 10-22-2015 at 11:22 AM.
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