CHERRY GROVE, SC (WMBF) – There has been a spike in the number of shark sighting on the Grand Strand, especially near the Cherry Grove area where some fishermen are catching sharks instead of the fish they are going after in the ocean.
Fisherman Bobby Hester told WMBF News in the nearly 25 years he has fished off the Cherry Grove Pier he can hardly remember a time he has seen so many sharks.
"Starting last night we were here last night for about 5 hours and probably saw 10-15 different ones," added Hester.
Another long time fisherman Matt Potts has also seen more sharks near the Pier. Potts has also had a few of those sharks end up on the end of his line.
"There's been a lot more bait in the water this year than the past few years like I said a lot of the sharks that hang around the piers and the estuaries and stuff like that it's basically free meals for them," said Potts.
Marine experts from Coastal Carolina University and the Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach told WMBF News it can be hard to nail down an exact cause of an apparent spike in the number of sharks. Aquarist Dane Tullock said he has certainly noticed more bait fish in the area which may be the reason why so many sharks are following the fish as they migrate south for winter.
As the bait come through so come all these sport fish and with all the sport fish come all the bigger predators like the sharks," added Tullock. "Currently you're probably seeing Sandbar, Spinner Sharks Blacktip Sharks and probably some Sharpnose Sharks."
Fishermen near Cherry Grove Pier told WMBF News the sharks are becoming such an issue they would like to see a season created for catching sharks perhaps before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.