Guideline River Monsters Season 1 Episode 7 : Freshwater Shark

No fish inspires the same terror as the shark. A creature with an insatiable hunger for brutal violence. But at least these killers are confined to the oceans. Or are they? Expert angler Jeremy Wade investigates the deadly bull shark.

Carcharhinus leucas

Maximum Length: Over 13 feet
Maximum Weight: Up to 700 pounds

A Freshwater Nightmare: The bull shark is a river monster of nightmares — it is a sea creature that can tolerate fresh water, allowing it to travel far up rivers and close to contact with humans. Its tendency to dwell in shallow coastal waters and rivers ranging from the Atlantic to the Indian to the Pacific Ocean, coupled with its unpredictable and aggressive behavior, lead many scientists to label it as the species responsible for the majority of shark attacks on humans. Visit our bull shark safety guide to learn how to stay safe in salt and fresh water.

Bad to the Bone: The bull shark gets its name from its stocky build, its broad snout and its aggressive nature. It is known to make sharp, unpredictable bursts of speed and often utilizes the "bump and bite" technique to capture prey, during which it first head-butts prey before attacking. Bull sharks have been known to attack large animals, including one account of an attack on a racehorse in Queensland, Australia. They regularly prey on dolphins, other sharks, and have proven themselves more than willing to attack humans — sometimes simply out of curiosity. Their speed, strength and agility — not to mention sharp, heavily serrated teeth — make such attacks potentially deadly.

Jeremy Wade's Tips for Catching Bull Shark: "We had to put the fish back alive, so I used a circle hook with a crushed down barb. Circle hooks tend to lodge in the corner of the mouth where they are easier to remove, which is a very big consideration when you're fishing for sharks."

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