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Weedline ... (shark behavior question)

  • You seem to be the resident marine animal expert. Others are welcome to join, though.

    Is the old tale that "going past the 2nd sandbar multiplies your chances of being attacked" really accurate? I know that just about any predatory shark can come get you in 3' of water without much trouble, but I've always heard this. You see all these statistics that prove being attacked by a shark is an extreme rarity, but then again, you don't see a lot of people going out that far (at least in the gulf). I often swim on out past that by maybe 50-100 yards looking for anything interesting that's not making it to shore (shells, strange items, buried treasure lol). We were in PCB a couple weeks ago and for maybe the 2nd time ever, I got this little feeling it was time to take it in. Probably just a weird psychological thing, but still, it got me thinking. Whatcha think?

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  • T12, I am not a shark or marine expert by any means, but I have been to most of the major oceans in the world. My observations are that sharks looking for food are opportunistic, and I am not sure that any sandbar has an absolute determining effect on that. The deeper the water, generally just makes the variety and volume of sharks potentiianally increase. I have also gotten "that feeling" when being 100-200 yards out from the beach, and I bring it in because if something should happen out there, my chances go way down. Most shark attacks occur between sandbars or between a sand bar and the shore because this is where they typically feed.Also beware of any severe drop offs from a sandbar or the bottom as that is where their food will often hangout.North America typically reports more shark attacks than anywhere else in the world, simply because we have more swimmers at our beaches. Happy swimming!

  • BamaOnLine

    Weedline

    Yes, the 2nd sandbar spot is about the worst place you can be. It's where we go to catch Bulls. They cruise the deeper channel between the bars on the bottom awaiting bait and fish to swim over the ledge and then ambush them. The 13 year old girl that was killed in Ft. Walton many years back was killed by a Bull in that exact way. 99% of the time you should be fine, but it's never been worth taking the risk IMO.

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    "Because Bama now sucks just like FSU used to suck when we were getting dominated by OU. Does it make sense now?"- Sliger (FSU Fan)

  • AuburnUndercover

    Sig Spearfisher

    The deep spot between the two sandbars or past the sandbar are where just about all predatory fish hang out to feed on the bait that moves off the sandbar... So yeah I'd say you'd have a higher percent chance of getting attacked in between or past the sandbars... but even then getting attacked by a shark is a pretty rare occurrence.

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    Dive for the thrill, shoot for the kill.

  • Thanks for the responses. I have always been interested in sharks and read a lot of Nat Geo magazines when I was a kid, but I always just filed it all under "very unlikely occurrence".

    I might have miscategorized my location a little. This past trip to the beach, I guess it was the first sand bar that I went past, but it was farther out than what I'd consider typical in the gulf. Let's say 75 yards to the sandbar from the beach, then maybe it was 25 yards wide, and it didn't drop quickly on the far side, but kind of gradually. So, lets say I swam maybe 50 yards past it for a total of about 150 yards. The actual "2nd sand bar" was waaay out there this time (250+ yards I'd guess, maybe more), so I didn't do that. Since I'm not a kid anymore, I worry more about cramping out there than anything else.

    What I want to avoid is being in a high concentration spot where they eat regularly. Even if they don't want to attack me, they might just "feel me out", which is essentially the same thing when you're 450 feet from shore.

    Next question. If it's raining and windy with choppier waves, are they more likely to go farther from shore, closer, or no noticeable effect?

    Edit: Distance to first sand bar was one thing, the other is that it was about 5 1/2 feet deep for about 1/2 of that distance, and up to 6' in spots. Again, not really deep, but probably a shade deeper than typical from beach to sand bar. I would estimate that where I stopped heading out it was maybe 12-15' .

    This post was edited by TheT12 12 months ago

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  • BamaOnLine

    boxybrown

    I'm no expert but I would guess that rain would affect salinity in the water and would make sharks head towards deeper waters.

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  • Along the lines of your last comment regarding quantity of swimmers, I wonder what the shark attack numbers would look like if most swimmers hung out another 100 yards from shore?

    Probably no way to really know, but you'd have to think they'd go up.

    At least 50% of the people at the beach go hang out on the sandbar, but almost none of them venture to the other side of it. Kind of funny, because you can look up and down the beach and it's almost a perfect line of people right in the middle of the first bar.

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  • I never would have considered salinity, but that makes good sense.

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  • BamaOnLine

    Weedline

    Waves themselves have no affect on sharks as far as I know. Bad weather can lead to rain and rain leads to runoff. That runoff flows South from streams and rivers and empties into tributaries and bays. Those bays empty into the ocean through a pass. Dirty water makes it more difficult for them to identify you which greatly increases your chances of being bit.

    Do your best to stay away from a pass when swimming. Sharks cruise near these area waiting for an outgoing tide that washes the bait out of the bay and into the ocean. Other predators do the same, and it's a great time to fish. However, I lived in Daytona Beach, FL for a few years and they call the county it's in the "Shark Bite Capital of the World". I fished Ponce Inlet at least once a week and we used to see a news crew down there like once a month. Some surfer or tourist had been bitten by a juvy on the leg or hand. Ponce Inlet is an inlet that connects the intercoastal waterway with the ocean. The only other pass to the North is about an hour up in St. Augustine (which we have seen huge sharks in too). But the point being, all the bait only has one spot to get out. It's a very bad spot.

    This post was edited by Weedline 12 months ago

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    "Because Bama now sucks just like FSU used to suck when we were getting dominated by OU. Does it make sense now?"- Sliger (FSU Fan)

  • BamaOnLine

    boxybrown

    Actually according to this sharks are attracted to stormy weather and turbulent waters, especially murky water. So salinity may have zero effect.

    4 Ways to Avoid Shark Attacks During Your Spr

    How to Avoid Shark Attacks During Your Spring Break. Every spring, tens of thousands of college students prepare to descend upon tropical locales. And yet, the beaches of Cancun, Acapulco, and Florida have more in common than just...

    http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Shark-Attacks-During-Your-Spring-Break
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  • Sounds like a fun place to fish.

    I went fishing with a friend off Hilton Head Island a few years back. We did more drinking than fishing, and we were in that strip of water between the island and mainland where all those oyster rakes, murky water, and shallow then really deep drops are. After a while, I had to piss and he says "just piss off the boat". It was a busy day, with people going by with their kids, etc, so I'm not just gonna piss in their general direction. Ended up having to jump off, pee, jump back on. Next time I go, I'm either not drinking or taking a big jug. Place looked like bull shark heaven.

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  • I used to get "that feeling" in the deep end of my pool as a little kid.