Seven-foot shark captured off Ocean City beach

"Shark Tony" stands next to his catch on the 58th Street beach in Ocean City, NJ. on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. He released the seven-foot sand tiger shark back into the water soon after. (Mark Miedama / Special to the Inquirer)
"Shark Tony" stands next to his catch on the 58th Street beach in Ocean City, NJ. on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. He released the seven-foot sand tiger shark back into the water soon after. (Mark Miedama / Special to the Inquirer)
Posted: August 18, 2012

This story has been updated to correct the species of shark caught.

A South Jersey man pulled a seven-foot sand tiger shark from the waters just off the shore of Ocean City, N.J., Wednesday evening.

Just in time for Shark Week.

The man, whom beach regulars know only as "Shark Tony," landed the seven-foot-long catch after hooking it from a kayak and paddling back to the beach near the 59th Street Pier.

Mark Miedama, who worked as a member of the Ocean City beach patrol this summer, was sitting on the sand with friends about 7:30 when he noticed Shark Tony struggling with a big catch.

"It was pretty frisky," Miedama said.

It took three men to land the shark, he said.

"It didn't want to be beached, for sure," Miedama said. "I helped him pull it up."

Nearly every night at dusk, Shark Tony paddles out into the ocean on his kayak with a bucket of chum, Miedama said. Usually, his catch is limited to small sand sharks.

Not Wednesday.

"That's the biggest he's pulled up," Miedama said. "It was pretty intimidating."

Sand sharks, which can grow up to 10-feet in length,  are not considered dangerous to man, and attacks are exceptionally rare.

Bill Kazmarck, a lifeguard who watches over the 58th Street beach, said it was common knowledge that sharks swim off the shore.

"It's their home, too," Kazmarck said. "People ask all the time if there are sharks out there. I'm honest with them. Of course there are. But if they wanted to attack, they'd attack every day.

"They don't."

The waters remain safe, said Lt. Brian Booth of the beach patrol. The beach remained crowded Thursday with vacationers and sun-worshipers taking in the last days of summer.

Kazmarck was not rattled by the prospect of a shark encounter.

"You don't give them much thought," he said. "Otherwise, you'd scare yourself right out of the water."

Miedama concurred.

After Shark Tony released his catch back into the ocean, there was only one thing left to do.

"We went swimming," Miedama said.


Contact Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.

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