Two Texas anglers caught the same 10-foot lemon shark nearly one year apart at Padre Island National Seashore. However, the shark seemed to be pregnant the second time around, according to the anglers.
Nick Fuller from the Houston-area reeled in the shark from the shore on July 12, 2019.
Nick Fuller from the Houston area reeled in the shark from the shore on July 12, 2019. Fuller said he only had a 10-inch measuring tape, which the shark surpassed at that time. Fuller tagged the shark, which had a visible bite mark from mating, and released it back into the waters.
Fuller tagged the shark, which had a visible bite mark from mating, and released it back into the waters.
Just over 13 months later, Paul Odabashian from Brownsville hooked the same shark from the shore that was just a few miles from Fuller’s catch on Aug. 21, 2020. Odabashian said he measured the 10-foot, 3-inch shark, took down Fuller’s tag number, and then released it.
READ ALSO: South Texas woman catches 9-foot, 300-pound shark from Corpus Christi beach
Both catches were part of the Texas Shark Rodeo – a voluntary year-long competition that allows anglers to gain points based on the sharks and species they catch and release. The tag from each catch is to help the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi collect data on the conservation of sharks.
Paul Odabashian from Brownsville hooked the same shark, with now a mating bite scar, from the shore that was just a few miles from Fuller’s catch on Aug. 21, 2020.
After researching Fuller’s tag number on the rodeo records, Odabashian said he saw Fuller’s pictures and noticed the shark’s girth was dramatically larger than when it was caught in 2019, indicating it was pregnant.
According to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, female lemon sharks have a gestation period that lasts between 10-12 months, giving birth to a litter of four to 17 pups.
READ ALSO: ‘We landed a river monster’: San Antonio anglers catch 6 1/2-foot alligator gar at area lake
On Monday, the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation posted on its Facebook page about the lemon shark, confirming it was pregnant and the same shark.
“We were very excited to see that the animal was visibly heavier,” the center wrote in its post. “Evidence like this suggests that Texas might provide critical mating and pupping grounds for these animals.”
Fuller, who fishes for charity under the team name “Team Shark at the Moon,” said he was “super excited” to see how much she grew and even more thrilled when he found out she was pregnant.
Odabashian said he is waiting to hear back from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials to accept it as the Texas state record lemon shark for catch-and-release. The department told him the acceptance would take eight to 10 weeks.
Priscilla Aguirre is a general assignment reporter for MySA.com | [email protected] | @CillaAguirre