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Just a tall tale
By Bob Lassahn

The following may be making its way to an inbox near you, but if you swim or fish in the Chesapeake Bay you probably need not cancel your plans just yet. The story of a Great White being caught near the Bay Bridge is a hoax.

According to numerous sources on the Internet the pictures are real enough. They apparently stem from an actual catch made in August 2004 and the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. During the Yarmouth Shark Scramble tournament the half ton, 10 foot 10 inch Shortfin Mako landed angler Jamie Doucette of Wedgeport, Nova Scotia first prize.

Since the pictures first hit the Internet the story has been manipulated to make the shark a Great White and to place the catch everywhere from Washington State to Texas. The Chesapeake Bay is simply the most recent location where the creature was supposedly hooked by an angler on a boat named Dawn Raider. With the constantly changing locations it becomes a bit difficult to track any specific story, but the general content of the fictional works have been debunked by the urban legends site as a hoax.

Just to make everything official The Courier contacted the Maryland Department of Natural Resources where Media Relations Manager Olivia Campbell confirmed they have not been made aware of a Great White ever being caught in the Chesapeake Bay. But this is one heck of a "fish story." The original text and picture are provided here for our readers' enjoyment.

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Fish Story
Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2008 15:44:03

Chesapeake Bay, near Route 50 Bay Bridge and Sandy Point State Park…at last I have the ultimate excuse not to do the "Polar Bear Plunge" in January. It's not only crazy to jump into freezing cold water, it could be down right dangerous! Note the expression on the face of the man wearing the Red Baseball cap. He's still scared half out of his wits and glad to be alive!

While the vessel 'Dawn Raider' out of Marklys Marina in Essex, Md. was fishing for Striped Bass (also locally known as Rock Fish), this Great White was hooked in the mouth but only resisted slightly for 15 minutes before it came up alongside the boat to have a look; long enough for one of the crew members to slip a rope a round it's tail!!! And that's when things heated up!!

The Shark took off towing the 42 foot fishing boat backwards through the water at about 7 Knots. Just like in JAWS, the boat was taking on water over the stern and the crew watched in horror as the shark would actually jump completely out of the water at times. This went on for an hour before the shark finally drowned. She weighed in at 1035 LBS. It is suspected she followed a weak El Nino current into local waters in search of food.  Although mid 60 degree water is considered ideal for these sharks, the larger ones can tolerate water in the low 50s.


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Uploaded: 3/11/2008