INDIAN HARBOUR BEACH – The shark saga in a beachside community is now over. A small bull shark in a Brevard County pond that had eluded capture for several days has been caught. And persistence certainly pays off.
Trappers had been at it since Monday, trying to wrangle the tiny shark spotted swimming in this freshwater pond. But now “Sushi,” as she’s been called, is back home in the river.
Thursday began much like the previous days. Trappers strung a large net in the pond hoping to lure the shark in with bait, while another large crowd gathered at Gleason Park to watch.
“They are pretty brave going into the water with the shark,” said 11-year-old Heather Kraus, who had been there everyday watching.
One of the trappers donned a scuba mask and scanned underwater. Once again they deployed bird-scaring fireworks to force the animal to the surface.
Then, out of the blue, one of the volunteers yelled out.
“And we heard ‘we got ‘em!’, and everyone ran over,” said Cynthia Stumpf, who showed up with her friend Dawn Fiorelli.
“We were here five minutes and they caught him, we were good luck!” exclaimed Fiorelli.
It had been caught in a hand-held net.
The rush was on to get it in a large cooler full of water. The sun was drying it out quickly.
The team drove it over to the nearest boat ramp on the Indian River, just a half mile away. There the trappers cut a hook out of its mouth, possibly the one used by whoever had caught the shark and put it in the pond to begin with.
Then, just moments later, the 3.5-pound female was let go into the waters of the river.
Volunteer Steven Henson, who caught the shark, had been there with the rest of the crew overnight.
“I feel great. I’ve been shark fishing since I was 14 years old,” he told us.
For the city of Indian Harbour Beach, the experience has been a celebration of community according to city manager Mark Ryan, who said he’s glad the shark is back to its natural habitat.
“I just wish we would track him and tag him like Katharine,” Ryan said.
Katharine, as you may know, is the Great White Shark made famous by Twitter. Katharine is fitted with a transponder which pinged along Brevard’s coast a couple months ago.
But “Sushi” certainly has captured a lot of attention in this area.
As for the team who caught “Sushi,” there was a celebratory plunge in the pond they had spent so much time in.