NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Lake Pontchartrain is known for having sharks because they swim in from the Gulf of Mexico, but on Monday, a fisherman caught a large bull shark and wants to bring awareness to the dangers that exist on the lake.
“I actually play the ‘Jaws’ theme song when I fish,” local fisherman Joseph Rohaley explained. “It was five foot, five inches, and it took about 45 minutes to pull in.”
Bull sharks are one of the most aggressive and unpredictable type of sharks.
Rohaley caught this human-sized bull shark across from the Mardi Gras fountain in Lake Pontchartrain along the seawall on Lakeshore Drive. After catching it, he threw it back in the water.
“Anything that is in the Gulf of Mexico is in Lake Pontchartrain,” Rohaley said.
He wasn’t surprised to see the shark, because they are common in Lake Pontchartrain, but its size took him aback.
“Because that line can zip from 150 yards to 300 yards in 20 seconds,” he added.
Rohaley wants to encourage families to go fishing together and make memories, but to be careful around the water.
“It is amazing how close sharks can come in at night. It is like people don’t realize,” Rohaley explained.
Rich Toth with the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas says to avoid sharks. Don’t swim in murky water, don’t wear shiny or sparkly clothing in the water, and avoid the water at dusk and dawn when sharks are feeding.
“There’s teeth in there. I mean, if you’re in that water, you’re game,” Toth explained. “Just be careful when you’re out on the water because you just don’t know what’s in that water.”
According to biologists, the three types of sharks that are most likely to bite humans are bull sharks, tiger sharks, and Great White sharks. Bull sharks have also been found in the Mississippi River.