Unexpected visitor: Anglers say something is taking large chomps out of striped bass

Something is taking large chomps out of striped bass in Long Island Sound. Officials say it's likely a shark. (Source: WFSB)
Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 6:48 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB/Gray News) - Anglers in Connecticut say something has been beating them to their catches lately while out in the Long Island Sound.

According to the Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Division, multiple striped bass have been seen in the area with what looks like shark bites.

Officials said anglers have been dealing with an “unexpected visitor,” likely a sand tiger shark or sand bar shark.

“I’ve seen several sharks, even saw one circling,” said angler Elliot Thomas.

For Thomas, fishing is in his blood.

“We will fish anywhere along the Connecticut shoreline that we can,” he said.

It’s his business as the owner of 24/7 Lures.

But a night in his kayak fishing for striped bass didn’t end up with the story of the one that got away, but rather who got it instead.

“I had a striped bass eaten quickly and then a shark started pulling me and my kayak,” Thomas said. “About 20 minutes later another bass was also eaten.”

Connecticut Fish and Wildlife officials said this is happening more often and are asking others to send in photos if it’s happened to them.

And plenty did.

“There was a shark hanging around,” said Zack Hintz, owner of a bait and tackle store. “We would have a fish until all of a sudden something much larger would grab it.”

According to officials, sand tiger sharks and sand bar sharks can be found in the area and are the likely culprits.

Fishing in their kayaks, both Thomas and Hintz said they don’t get too worried about themselves. They fish with friends, so there’s another set of eyes, but they’ll remain vigilant knowing what’s out there.

“It’s being aware of your surroundings. I’ve been bouncing around trying to avoid sharks,” Thomas said.

Sand tiger sharks can reach a length of 10.5 feet, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Sand bar sharks can measure out to more than 8 feet long, Marine and Coastal Fisheries stated.