PADRE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE, Texas – Two Texas anglers caught the same lemon shark nearly one year apart but with one major difference -- the 123-inch shark is very visibly pregnant in the second photo.
Both catches were part of the Texas Shark Rodeo, a catch-photo-release, team-oriented, shark fishing tournament with an emphasis on tagging and collecting data for the conservation of sharks, according to the website.
Nick Fuller, originally caught the 10+ foot lemon shark on July 12, 2019. “That was the first shark I ever caught on that particular rod and reel,” said Fuller, who told KSAT he caught the shark off the coast of Padre Island National Seashore.
Just over a year later, Paul Odabashian caught the same lemon shark along on the Padre Island National Seashore just a few miles from where Fuller caught the shark.
“I took down the tag number and got my measurements really quickly and the shark was swimming off no more than a minute later after landing it,” said Odabashian. “With the tag number and the description of the bite mark it was easy to figure out who had previously caught it. I searched the Texas Shark Rodeo website and there was only one lemon that length and sure enough it had a big bite mark on the face.”
Odabashian told KSAT that aside from the bite wound healing, “her girth changed dramatically which indicated she was pregnant and probably almost due at the time I caught her.”
According to the Flordia Museum, a lemon sharks gestation period lasts between 10-12 months and litters range from four to 17 pups.
Lemon sharks are among the larger species of shark, typically measuring between 8-10 feet with a lifespan of about 27 years, the Florida Museum website states.
Odabashian said the catch “is pending becoming the catch and release lemon shark state record." He said all the forms have been submitted and that he’s just waiting on Texas Parks and Wildlife officials to confirm.
Fuller, who said his tape measure at the time was only 10 feet long, said he has been fishing for charity recently under the charity team name “Team Shark at the Moon” in a tournament called “Take a Bite Out of Cancer” which helps raise funds for cancer patients and their families.
“Our beneficiary for 2020 is going to be 16-year-old Kensington and her family. Kensington was diagnosed in December 2018 with LARYNGEAL Cancer (throat cancer). She is the youngest in the United States to ever be diagnosed with LARYNGEAL Cancer,” Fuller said on the website.
Both anglers chose to protect the exact location along Padre Island National Seashore where the lemon shark was caught.