VERY Scary Video: Shark Bites Angler’s Hand, Pulls Him From Boat

An angler in south Florida is lucky to still have his hand after an unexpected and terrifying close encounter with a shark.

VERY Scary Video: Shark Bites Angler’s Hand, Pulls Him From Boat

When writing the title and tease for this article, I purposely didn’t use the words “shark attack,” even though doing so would have resulted in more clicks. The reason? In my opinion, the shark didn’t attack the angler — at least not in the way I think of a shark attack.

I encourage you to stop reading this article at this point and click here to watch the Instagram video. (Be sure to turn up the volume for best viewing.) Then check back to read my Monday morning quarterback comments.

The Rest of the Story

The setting is Everglades National Park, which is at the southern tip of Florida (not counting the Keys). The angler has just released a snook, and he’s reaching over the gunnel to rinse slime off his hands. Listen closely and you’ll hear another fisherman say, “I wouldn’t put your hands in there”, but the angler laughs it off with a quick comment I can’t quite decipher. He obviously thinks he’s in no danger if he rinses his hands in 2 seconds or less.


From what I gather in reading other stories about this shark bite (again, I’m not calling it an attack), sharks in this area hang around fishing boats because they’ve learned it’s an easy place to attack snook, redfish, trout and other in-shore species that are hooked or have been recently released. 

The shark is attacking what it believes to be a fish thrashing at the side of the boat. Maybe I’m wrong — which is possible, I live in Minnesota, which in the Lower 48 is about as far as you can get from Everglades National Park.

In Minnesota, we have northern pike and muskies, and almost every year there are confirmed cases of these toothy predators biting the hands or feet of swimmers, or people dangling their feet in the water off a dock. Again, I hesitate to call these “attacks.” The pike or muskie is attempting to catch, kill and eat a sunfish or bass; it bites a human by mistake.

In this video, the angler is playing with fire by swishing his hands in the water after releasing the snook. I’m often faced with the same boatside decision when fishing certain lakes that are loaded with small northern pike, the bodies of water where you can catch 20 or 30 “hammer handles” per hour. Leaning over the boat to swish my hands in the water to rinse off pike slime seems like a dangerous move. Have I done it? Yes, probably more than a thousand times — literally — in my 50 years of avid fishing. Have I ever been bitten by a pike? No. 

The shark in the video appears to be about 6 feet in length, but with its speed and powerful jaws, it yanks the angler into the water in a split second. I’m amazed that he doesn’t lose at least a finger or two, or his entire hand. Did the shark immediately let go? Did it not get a solid hold on his hand? Of course, we’ll never know.

As detailed in the text of the Instagram post highlighting the video, the angler was treated by a nearby park ranger and then taken in a helicopter to a local hospital for stitches. He’s incredibly lucky to have received such minor wounds. In fact, look at the video screen-shot (top photo, far right) and it appears almost all of the damage was done to his middle finger.

I think it’s safe to say this angler won’t be swishing his hands in shark-infested waters ever again.


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