Hammerheads, Tigers and Other Sharks that Swim in Our Surf
LAST SUMMER, Robstown angler Poco Cedillo and his partners caught a nearly 900 pound hammerhead in the Texas surf.
He and his team typically tag and release sharks, but this big one was exhausted and ended up dying. They harvested the meat and donated it to the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission.
This catch ignited conversation about big sharks on the Texas Coast and what anglers might possibly catch in the surf. So we decided to put together a list of Texas’s biggest and baddest surf dwellers.
Greater Hammerhead: Great hammerheads are large, even by shark standards, growing to more than 15 feet long according to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials. Large as they are, these sharks can turn quickly with the help of their broad, flat heads. Hammerheads’ eyes and nostrils are at the outer ends of their odd-looking heads, making them better to see and smell food with.
Lemon Shark: Lemon sharks often swim around docks and piers or cruise near the surface of offshore waters according to TPWD officials. Like other sharks, lemon sharks have no bones in their bodies. Instead, their skeletons are made from cartilage, the same tough, flexible material that forms the tip of your nose. Every year eight-foot-plus lemon sharks are caught on Texas beaches.
Bull Shark: Bull sharks are common off the coast of Texas. They live in most of the subtropical and tropical oceans of the world according to TPWD.
Unlike most sharks, bull sharks can live in fresh as well as salt water. Here in Texas, they’ve been found many miles upriver from the Gulf.
In 2019, a bull shark measuring 9 feet, two inches was caught on the Padre Island National Seashore. It was longer than the state record caught in Aransas Bay (515 pounds) in 2007. The four-man team who brought the beast in refused to kill it. It was never weighed on certified scales and was probably a record.
Kudos to them.
Tiger Shark: This is probably the most intimidating shark anglers might catch in the surf in Texas. They are fairly rare visitors, attaining lengths over 15 feet and weighing easily over 1,000 pounds. They are true giants. Also, they are high on the man-eater list. In the past, large tigers have been caught on Galveston Island and on the Padre Island National Seashore, which may very well be Texas’s ultimate big shark hot spot.
Save Our Sharks
Worldwide, sharks have been depleted by overfishing. Between 30 and 70 million sharks are killed by humans every year.
—story by CHESTER MOORE