Sam Martin was fishing with his son James and friend Ross Paul at the Blalock Reservoir in Clayton County on April 29 around 7 p.m. While fishing off of a rock at a more secluded area of the lake, Sam noticed a small dead shark floating on top of the water.
“When we first saw the shark, we couldn’t believe what we were looking at,” said Sam. “I wasn’t really sure what to do or think. Was it someone’s pet that they just dumped here? Did someone catch it on the coast and dump it here? Could it swim up the rivers and creeks to get here? Was it living at all in these waters? These were the many questions running through my head. My 8-year-old son, James, asked if we were going to be famous for finding that shark. Even he knew how rare of a find it was,” said Sam.
They were the only people to see the shark, other than two workers for the Clayton County Water Authority. After getting the shark out of the water, Sam called the Water Authority office to alert them of their find and to ask if they could send someone out to examine what they suspected to be a bull shark.
“He looked at it for a few minutes, took some pictures, then drove off with it in the back of his truck… He was quick to say someone put it there, and that there was no way a shark could’ve come this far north,” said Sam.
GON reached out to Dr. Carolyn Belcher, Marine Fisheries Chief for the Coastal Resources Division, to get her thoughts the shark.
“It is an Atlantic sharpnose (shark), a species very common species in coastal Georgia and in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Belcher. “This is a small coastal species which does not exceed 4 feet in length as an adult. The species is not freshwater tolerant, and I would have to agree with the Water Authority representative that someone dumped the carcass.”
Though Sam, James and Ross didn’t catch any fish that day, they had an experience they’ll never forget.
“It was a crazy day for sure,” said Sam.