Overview Research Education Conservation Monterey Bay Biology Images Staff Shop Contact Us

Sam Stamy shows off a small shark he caught near the Talbert Marsh in Huntington State Beach.


Playing with sharks

Dozens came down from the Talbert Marsh, and the kids found new friends.

Register columnist

At any sign of a sharp fin sticking out of the water’s surface, Sam Stamy would dive straight into the shallow river, belly flopping as he snatched his prey.

Remember when we were young, and we played with dolls and baseball cards?

Apparently that’s just too dull for today’s youth. These days, they prefer sharks.

Yes, sharks.

I was  at Huntington State Beach with friends on Sunday, enjoying the cool ocean breeze during the blistering hot heat wave when the commotion at the Talbert Marsh river outflow started.

A handful of kids were catching sharks – anywhere from 1-to 3-feet long – letting them squirm in their hands for a few minutes, then releasing them back in the water.

Others kids watched and screamed at the sight of the sharks, running from them or gaining enough courage to pet them. Others as young as 6 dove right in for them.

“It’s pretty fun,” Sam said. “They feel like sandpaper when you get on top of them.”

Stamy’s father, Rick, said he wasn’t worried since the sharks didn’t have sharp teeth, and they munch mostly on shellfish. There were dozens – maybe even hundreds – of the small sharks making their way down to the ocean (along with a few stingrays).

I sent the photos over to shark expert Sean Van Sommeran, CEO of the Pelagic Shark Foundation, who wrote me after my last shark story a few weeks back. He said the sharks look like smoothhound shark, a “very cool little shark” periodically very common and abundant near shore.

He said the sharks hunt or rest in shallow areas, but are pretty evasive. He also got an e-mail this week from a windsurfer in San Francisco area reporting similar sightings, and the sharks are likely on their annual seasonal movements.

“If you know the name of those kids catching sharks, we want to hire them,” he wrote. “We catch them like that.”

“He’s totally fearless,” Rick said of Sam, who said he caught about 16 of the sharks in about an hour.

Now, let’s be clear that I am not encouraging people to go out and start grabbing for sharks, and there’s probably laws out there against this. I just report the things going on.

I just know I wasn’t about to put my very valuable fingers near those suckers

original URL: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/sharks-shark-few-2019278-very-kids
Back to Pelagic in the News

[ home ] [ contact us ] [ support us ] [ shop ]
© Copyright 1990-2008 PSRF
All rights reserved.
Site Development by IT Director