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Spinner sharks that have been swimming near the beaches have made the evening news once again this year. When sightseeing from a helicopter or a slow moving airplane, it's possible to see up to 20 spinner sharks in the shallow waters of some beaches in the area.
When we realize how close these predators swim to the shore's edge, their presence evokes an instinctual feeling of fear mixed with excitement. Although these sharks are not considered man-eating, I'm sure that they are responsible for biting an unsus-pected surfer or two in murky waters.
Spinner sharks have been migrating through our area for as many years as anyone can remember. Most of these sharks are comparably small to other species of sharks. Spinners typically weigh between 50 and 100 pounds.
Some anglers think that spinner sharks and black tip sharks are one and the same. However, this is not the case. They are two completely different species of shark. As their name implies, black tip sharks have black tipped fins. The coloration of the two kinds of sharks is similar, except that the spinner shark has a whitish or grey band on its inferior sides. Another difference is that when a spinner shark is hooked, it jumps and spins in the air after a long run. Black tips, on the other hand, don't jump.
These spinner sharks, which are an important part of the food chain, will be migrating out of our area as soon as the water warms up. When it comes to sport fishing, catching spinner sharks on fly and light tackle is as good as it gets. Fishermen look forward to their presence and they are usually reluctant to see them migrate away from our area.