Miami Herald

A frenzied group of sharks surrounded a fishing charter off Florida and began taking turns attacking its trolling motor, video shows.

It happened Monday, Feb. 26, about 20 miles east of Cape Canaveral, and the motor’s metal housing was left scarred with teeth impressions, according to Fin & Fly Fishing Charters guide Jamie Glasner. Cape Canaveral is about 55 miles east of Orlando.

“I’ve been doing this about 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Glasner told McClatchy News.

“Maybe it has to do with the vibration, or with it being electric. I’m not sure. They definitely wanted to attack the trolling motor.”

Stranger still, the sharks were also attacking each other, video shows.

The chilling siege began when a New York angler aboard the boat tried reeling in a 12-pound red snapper.

It emerged half eaten and the surface soon began boiling with sharks, one of which jumped from the ocean to grab the snapper.

“Dude, they are attacking each other. They’re attacking the troller,” Glasner can be heard saying. “This is insane.”

One shark defiantly head-butted the motor, video shows.

A second video recorded minutes later shows the sharks eventually gave up, but continued to circle the boat. One clinched its teeth on a rope tied to the boat and held tight — until the rope snapped.

They were sandbar sharks, Glasner said, and the red snapper was one of about a dozen catches eaten on the line that day.

“It’s normal for us to have fish eaten by sharks, but to see (one) jump out of the water when you’re pulling the fish up is not something we see,” he said.

“That frenzy on the surface was a first for me. It usually happens below the surface, out of sight. It was a first time for me to see that. It was jaw dropping. You definitely don’t want to drop in the water during that.”

Shark attacks on boat motors have been reported before off Florida.

It is suspected sharks may be “sensitive to low frequency sounds” created by boat engines, research shows.

“The sensitivity to low sound frequencies exhibited by sharks has been hypothesized as an adaptation to aid in detection of prey,” according to a 2021 study published in the journal Marine Environmental Research.

“Boat engine noise may therefore attract sharks to boats, particularly in cases where depredation on fishing lines has caused sharks to associate boat engine noise with the availability of hooked fish.”

Sandbar sharks grow to about 8 feet in length and can reach 200 pounds, according to NOAA Fisheries.

They live along the ocean floor in shallow coastal waters and are abundant off Cape Canaveral due to federal protections that prevent charter boats from harvesting the species, Glasner said.

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