Fishing for a Shark?

Delaney Harvey with the shark she caught recently at a beach in Jacksonville, Florida 

Imagine that you’re on the beach fishing, when suddenly you get a bite. You start to reel in your line, but whatever is on the other end is very strong. You fight to keep it from getting away. When it emerges from the water, you realize that you just caught a shark!

That’s what happened on a recent afternoon in Jacksonville, Florida. Delaney Harvey and Noah Wayne Elliott were among several others fishing on the beach when things took a surprising turn.

“I’ve been fishing since I was three years old,” said Noah, who is now 21. He has experience saltwater and freshwater fishing. Delaney, however, had only fished in freshwater, including ponds, lakes, and rivers. That is generally more relaxing than fishing in the ocean.

When Delaney was asked if she’d like to head to the beach, Noah recalled, she said that she’d love to try to catch some sharks. Noah was skeptical. But earlier in the day, a shark had been spotted nearby. It was estimated to be about 5 feet long.


Cami learns about sharks from lifelong fisherman Noah Wayne Elliott.


Noah and Delaney decided to bring a special rod for sharks. They also set up three other rods for fish. Before long, they got a bite on a rod. Delaney rushed to reel it in. The fish on the line was so strong that the line broke. 

Although her first attempt failed, she decided to keep trying. Less than 10 minutes later, she felt a bite on the shark rod. After a lot of fighting and trying to keep it from getting away, Delaney was able to reel the shark out of the water.

“When I realized that I had caught a shark I couldn’t believe it,” Delaney said. “That’s the first thing I’ve fished out of the ocean.” After catching the shark, Delaney and Noah took a few pictures with it and released it back into the water.

“It’s better to catch and release fish than to keep them,” Delaney said. “Besides, if we kept him, we wouldn’t know what to do with him.” 

Noah explained that sharks are not aggressive typically. They're after food, not humans. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. But there are rare cases when you’ll see a shark in the water.

“If you ever see a shark, don’t start yelling because that attracts them,” Noah advised. “Instead, keep your eye on it, and slowly get out of the water.”



Photos courtesy of the author